A Few Example Posts:

  • "The End of Faith: A Short Response to Sam Harris"
  • See also:
  • "A Long Response to Sam Harris' The End of Faith, by Neil Shenvi"

  • "Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?"

  • "Captured"

  • "The Storm is Over"

  • "If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection"

  • 5.02.2006

    An Anti-God State of Mind

    I am currently preaching through the book of Exodus, and I had to choose my approach concerning the 10 plagues. 10 separate messages did not seem feasible...

    A lot of things were happening during the plagues. God was identifying Himself with the Hebrews. He was revealing Himself to the nations. He was displaying His power to the world. He was also preparing a picture of Mercy against the backdrop of Judgment.

    But, I chose to look at Pharaoh's heart as Egypt experienced the plagues. Pharaoh's problem was that he had a hard heart against God. He reminded me of the kind of person Paul wrote about in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2: "Finally brethren, pray for us...that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked me; for not all have faith."

    This was not God's "fault." I remember reading years ago that "the same sun that hardens clay, melts wax." The problem is not in the nature of God. It is in the nature of man.

    Here are 7 Signs of a Hard Heart:

    1. It Trusts in Man: INDEPENDENCE

    “Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharoah’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said. And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his hear moved by this.” 8:22-24.

    If Man can Explain it.
    If Man can Achieve it.

    Man can Resist it.


    2. It Scrambles for Relief: MANIPULATION

    “But when Pharoah saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.” 8:15

    3. It Stands on Its Own: STUBBORNNESS

    “Then the magicians said to Pharoah, ‘This is the finger of God.’ But Pharoah’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had said.” 8:18.

    4. It Bargains with God: NEGOTIATION

    “So Pharoah said, 'I will let you go, that you my sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Intercede for me.'” 8:28

    5. It Continues in Sin: RESOLUTION

    “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.” 9:34

    6. It Makes False Confessions: ACCOMMODATION

    “Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, 'I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. Now, therefore, please forgive my sin this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that He may take away from me this death only.'”

    7. It Ultimately Suffers Loss: DESTRUCTION

    God sent the 10th Plague: Judgment on the Firstborn


    The root of this hard heart is PRIDE:

    “The essential vice, the utmost evil, is pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, and drunkenness are mere flea biters in comparison. It was through Pride that the Devil became the Devil. Pride leads to every other vice. It is the complete anti-God state of mind... As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people. And, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” - C.S. Lewis.


    How Do We Fight Pride? I have no formula, but here are four suggestions:

    1. Put Your Hand Over Your Mouth: Proverbs 30:32, “If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.”

    2. Bend Your Knees: Philippians 2:9-10: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth...”

    3. Plead for Mercy: Luke 18:9-14 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

    4. Wait for God: 1 Peter 5:5b-6: “...and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.”

    2 Comments:

    At 4:00 PM, Blogger Laserlawyer said...

    This was really good. Thanks for posting it.

    I would only add that before your four suggestions make any practical sense at all, one should first pray for the gift of true repentance. Otherwise, following the four suggestions is just more manipulation adn negotiation. IMHO.

     
    At 10:52 AM, Blogger John Rush said...

    Laserlawyer,

    Yep. Repentance underlies it all.

    Good point.

    JRush

     

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