When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart--he and his officials.
Exodus 9:22-35Exodus 9:22-35.
I. THE TERRORS OF GOD'S MIGHT. In that awful war of elements any moment might have been his last, and Pharaoh trembled. This plague evoked from him the first confession of sin. Hitherto he had reluctantly granted the request of Moses: now he casts himself as a sinner (27, 28) on God's mercy, and entreats the prayers of God's servant for himself and his people. There is a point at which the stoutest heart will be broken, and the cry be wrung from the lips, "I have sinned." "Can thine heart endure," etc. (Ezekiel 22:14).
III. THE VALUELESSNESS OF REPENTANCE BORN ONLY OF TERROR. God might thus bow all men under him, but the conquest would be worth nothing: men's hearts would not be won. When the terror is gone, Pharaoh's confession fails (30, 34, 35), for it has no root in any true knowledge of himself. He sees the darkness of God's frown, not the vileness of his transgressions. God is met with, not in the tempest and the fire, but in the still small voice which speaks within the breast. Many pass through gates of terror to hear this; but till God's voice is heard there, speaking of sin and righteousness and judgment, there is no true return of the soul to him.
III. THE FULNESS OF GOD'S MERCY. God knows the worthlessness of the confession, yet he is entreated for Pharaoh and the Egyptians. God's pity rests where men will have none upon themselves. Though they believe not, he cannot deny himself. - U.
1. When calamity removed.
I. PHARAOH'S CONDUCT IS OFTEN RESEMBLED BY MEN OF OUR DAY. Men's views of themselves and life change as the dark clouds roll away, and the sun breaks forth to gild their path again. This has become proverbial.
He sinned yet more.1. Sense of judgment and mercy without faith worketh more evil in sinners against God.
2. Mercies may prove occasions of hardening unto wicked souls; but no causes of their sin.
3. Wicked powers by unbelief harden themselves and others (ver. 34).
4. God sets on hardening when sinners choose to be stubborn against God.
5. Breach of promise with God is nothing with sinners.
6. God's foretelling of sinners ways aggravates that sin abundantly (ver. 35).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
II. PHARAOH'S CONDUCT REVEALS THAT HIS HEART HAD BEEN UNCHANGED. Afflictions do change some sinners into saints. They have come out of the storm new men. But it often produces no radical change. It does not change the heart. Love only awakens permanent resistance to sin.
III. PHARAOH'S CONDUCT MANIFESTED THE BASEST INGRATITUDE. Sin is always lamentable, but more so in the face of Divine mercy. Such insensibility to mercy is sure to bring another judgment.
IV. PHARAOH'S CONDUCT WAS MOST PEESUMPTUOUS.
V. PHARAOH'S CONDUCT SHOWS THE AMOUNT OF DEPRAVITY THAT MAY LURK IN A HUMAN HEART. Our only safety is in humiliating ourselves before the Lord, and seeking for His grace to overcome our own stubbornness and sins.
2. When mercy bestowed.
3. When gratitude expected.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
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