But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. -Exodus 7:3-4
One of the major reasons Pharaoh was so resistant to letting the Israelites leave Egypt was because he knew how much it would cost his nation in terms of lost labor.
Although up until this point in time Pharaoh was only asked to release the Israelites for 3 days, the truth is he was afraid if he agreed to this, they might not return.
At the time Egypt’s population was about 10-12 million people and of that number Israel totaled about 3 million.
That’s approximately 25% of the population comprised of solely hard laborers.
Egypt was in danger of losing its entire work force.
If Israel left permanently, the result would have been devastating and Egypt would have been reduced from a leading world power to a 2nd rate bankrupt nation practically overnight and probably never again regain its former greatness.
Well, actually, if we look at history, this is exactly what happened.
Pharaoh’s hardened heart brings to light a very important theological point we should not overlook.
The point is that there is a big difference between BELIEVING in God and TRUSTING in God.
Pharaoh believed in YHVH.
He didn’t deny His existence.
Throughout the whole ordeal of going through plague after plague, Pharaoh knew that the God of Israel was real and very powerful.
However, and here’s the key question, did His belief in YHVH constitute righteousness in God’s eyes?
Of course not.
Although Pharaoh BELIEVED in God, he never TRUSTED God and never SURRENDERED to God.
And this persistent staunch defiance of his ultimately cost him the life of his first born son and resulted in the destruction of Egypt.
Now isn’t this idea quite contrary to a lot of modern church doctrine that teaches mere intellectual assent to the fact that “Yeshua is Lord” is all that is necessary to be saved?
They are so passionately set on fleeing from anything even remotely resembling the idea of a “works-based” salvation that I feel they overlook one of the most important teachings in Scripture…
…which is that “BELIEF” alone is not sufficient to warrant salvation.
One must “TRUST” God.
And here’s the thing.
“TRUST” will always result in good works and a whole-hearted desire to obey God’s commandments.
I wonder about the standard evangelist call to unbelievers to just “believe” in God that they might be saved.
Well, Pharaoh believed in God.
But what good did that do him?
Yes, it is true that righteousness is NOT obtained by adherence to God’s commands.
However, on the other side of the coin, neither is righteousness obtained by the mere belief that God is.
I’ve had many adherents from other religions come up to me and say, “I believe your God and your faith is a good for you but I’m fine where I’m at.“
What they’re basically saying is “while I believe in your God, I certainly don’t believe in Him enough to surrender my life to him.”
True righteousness comes from TRUSTING God to the point where you wholeheartedly surrender your life to Him.
And a true trust in God will without exception reflect itself in one’s daily life.
Remember Yeshua said “Ye shall know them by their fruits.“
In Genesis 15, we are told that Abraham was seen as righteous because he TRUSTED God.
And God credited that TRUST as righteousness.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Show me your faith without deeds,
and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
You believe that there is one God.
Even the demons believe that