Revelation 8:6-9:12; 16:1-21
Words Are Not Enough
Pharaoh is a very interesting character in scripture. He is the epitome of how callous and hardhearted man can be.
For years I have heard many people say, “If only God would do a miracle in my family, if He would do something they could really see was from Him, then they would believe.” Is this a true statement? Furthermore, is “belief” true redemption?
Let’s look for a moment at the “confessions of faith” that Pharaoh made. In Exodus 9:27 he admits he has sinned. He states that Adonai is truly superior to him. He confesses that he has been wrong and even asks Moses to pray for him. In Exodus 10:16 he again confesses he has sinned against God and this time goes a step further, confesses that he has sinned against Moses, and again asks for prayer.
According to the way most of us have been taught through the years about “being saved,” Pharaoh is a good candidate to have come to the front, fill out a card, say a three-line prayer and go out the side door with, “Someone will call you and give you more information.” Within moments his name would be posted on the board of those “saved” in this church and his name sent off to denominational headquarters. Pharaoh would of course be asked to attend the “New Believers” class where he would be taught how to blend into and submit to the system of the congregation. No doubt due to his wealth he would be taught very quickly about the place of “The Law” in his life. He would be taught that the “Law” was done away with, except for tithing! Because of his position of power in his community and his ability to lead a whole country, he would no doubt be placed on a fast track to a position of Deacon, Elder or whatever other leadership position the congregation had. All on this would happen without a true change of heart, lifestyle or eternal destination. Pharaoh would just be another statistic on someone’s earthly record book, but would not make the book that truly counts, the Book of Life.
Before we go on, please do not think the above paragraph was written to be humorous, as a satire or to make fun of any church or denomination. Read it again, I think you will find a sobering and grievous amount of truth.
Truth is, miracles do not change people’s hearts. Think about how many miracles were done in Egypt. Did they change Pharaoh’s heart? How many miracles were done at the hands of the prophets? Did they change people’s hearts? How many miracles did Yeshua or His disciples do? Did they change people’s hearts? The answer to these questions is no. Miracles do not change hearts; miracles simply show forth the glory, power and majesty of the One True God. The miracle is to bring a person face to face with His glory, in a way forcing a decision to be made. Read Mark 5:1-15 and see the response of the people in verse 16 for an example of this. Hearts change when people make a decision to repent from their attempts to be God. People change when a confession is backed up with true repentance, which leads to submission to HaShem and to His word.
So what truly is redemption? Is it not a confession of faith, a request for forgiveness and a request for others to join around them in prayer? Yes, true redemption does contain these things, but without the fourth ingredient Yaakov (James) would say in his book that faith without actions is dead.
Pharaoh had all the right words, but in the end he did not have the actions to back up those words. I fear too many people today who have “come to Jesus” in churches, special meetings, crusades and the like may have only been given half the truth and are no better off eternally than Pharaoh was. You may say, “Mike, that is for God to straighten out.” That may be true, but are you willing to continue to tell people only half the truth of the gospel and just hope and pray it all works out, or would it be better to tell them the whole truth up front? In the end you may not have as many notches on your spiritual gun belt now, but the ones who have responded know the truth, the truth that can set them free.
So what is truth? All that HaShem said. All that Moses and the prophets taught. And all that Yeshua taught. How much simpler can it be than this? In the end, truth is the fact of One God who does not change, One Book that does not lie and One Family that in the end will stand as a testimony to this eternal truth.