January 19

Exodus 7-9, Psalm 19

Growing up in the Episcopal church, we didn’t have individual confession but a general confession at church when we were supposed to quietly think about what we did, then the priest would say we were forgiven. Most of my friends were Roman Catholic and were forced by their parents to go to confession individually. They generally would never tell the real bad things, but come up with a little disrespect, a small lie or two and tell these to the priest and be sent on their way being told to say a few Hail Mary’s and a couple of Our Fathers. Though true confession is essential and we are to keep short accounts with God, what God desires for us is repentance or a changing of our mind and our heart. Mental ascent of our wrongdoing without a sincere commitment realizing that our way is wrong and God’s way is right leads to no change. Also, once we realize a certain sin is wrong, we are not to compromise with it, but instead, get rid of it. So often, we hear in politics, that a particular candidate is willing to compromise and cross political aisles. Compromising on non-essentials is one thing, compromising on essentials from God’s Word is elevating man and not God.

We see after a number of plagues, Pharoah finally said in Exodus 9:27-28, “I have sinned this time. The Lord is righteous, and my people and I are wicked. Entreat the Lord, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” This confession was made to stop the plague but lacked sincerity. We see in 9:34-35, “And when Pharoah saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharoah was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the Lord had spoken by Moses.” The concept of Pharoah’s hardened hearts trouble many. It is a phrase repeated frequently in Exodus 7:3, 13-14, etc. But the line that troubles people is 9:12, “But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharoah, and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.” Chuck Smith explains this well. He said in his commentary, “It is important to properly understand the two Hebrew words for the one word “hardened”. One Hebrew word implies “a stubbornness, rebellion”, which is used for the conduct of Pharoah. He hardened his heart in stubborn rebellion against God. The other Hebrew word indicates “to make firm,” like clay hardening in the fire, and that is the word used to describe what God did to Pharoah in Exodus 9:12. Pharoah hardened his heart against God and so He strengthened Pharoah in that position.” Lack of repentance along with pride often results in compromise as we see in Exodus 8:28, “:So Pharoah said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Intercede for me.”

Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:1-2, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,”. If we choose to flirt with sin, let it linger around without repenting of it, our conscience can continue to harden. Over time the sin doesn’t seem as bad, and eventually like Pharoah we can become hardened to it and our conscience can be seared. Like John the Baptist in Matthew 3:2, Jesus’ first preaching in Matthew 4:17, was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” When confronting sin, we are not to compromise with it as Pharoah continually did, we are not to insincerely confess it as Pharoah did, we are to repent and eliminate it. We are told in 2 Corinthians 6:17, “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord.” We are to repent and separate ourselves from the world system which seeks to compromise our walk. When Jesus died for us on the cross, He not only paved the way for our salvation, He also freed us from the bondage of sin, if we truly want that freedom.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato