Today I was preaching in church. It was about Pharaoh in the book of Exodus. God brought ten terrible judgments upon Egypt, and each time He gave Pharaoh a chance to repent. But again and again we read: “Pharaoh hardened his heart.” At one point, after the 6th judgment I think, Pharaoh appears to repent; he says, “I have sinned.” But it is only a lip confession. The end of the chapter says he hardened his heart. Then we notice these words: “The LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” And those words are repeated till the end of the 10th judgment, when Pharaoh is forced to let Israel go.
The point I am making is that God gives us a chance to repent. He is not willing that any should perish, but He waits for repentance. Alas, the human heart is so wicked. We harden our hearts again and again, till it becomes impossible to repent. And then we read the terrible words: “The LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” [That was Pharaoh’s heart, but it could be your heart or mine!]
You may say Pharaoh was an unbeliever. Okay; but what about the Israelites in the wilderness? They provoked the LORD ten times, and I believe the LORD hardened their hearts. Read Psalm 95. It speaks about that generation of Israelites who were redeemed out of Egypt, but nevertheless perished in the wilderness.
You talk about faith. You say you believe. Well, even the demons believe. I think false preachers talk a lot about faith. They talk about faith that works miracles and signs and wonders. That’s how many are deceived. But what about you and me? We believe, and yet we do not obey!
The simple point is: Faith without obedience is dead. We can read the Bible again and again, but it will be a ‘dead letter’ to us, unless we pray, “Lord, teach me to do Your will, to obey Your word; to hearken to Your voice.”
If you are willing to do God’s will (and not just talk about it!), then you will know the powerful truth of God’s word.