In Exodus 9:16-17 we read that God had raised Pharaoh in Egypt in order to display His power in him which would result in God’s name be declared in all the earth. Yet, Pharaoh exalted himself against God and the children of Israel and would not let them go to worship God. That was the reason why God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and multiplied His signs and wonders in the land of Egypt (Exodus 7:3) so that the Egyptians would realize the awesome power of the true God (v. 5). With the passing of each miracle or plague, we read that Pharaoh hardened his heart again and again (Exodus 7:13, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 12, 35).
In his book ‘In the Name of Jesus’ Henri Nouwen asks this question: What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? He goes on to answer that maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute to the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life. Jesus asks us, “Do you love me?”, and we ask him back, “Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your kingdom?” (Matt. 20:21). Ever since Eve made a choice in the Garden of Eden to become “like gods knowing good from evil” (Gen. 3:5), we have been tempted to replace love with power, choose control over the cross and to become a leader over being led.Let us not be like Pharaoh whose hardened his heart and exalted himself – eventually he ended up at the bottom of the Red Sea. Let us remember that “pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Let us today “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt us in due time” (1 Peter 5:6)