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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Illusory Freedom of Man

“But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” Exodus 9:16

It is difficult to read through the story of Moses and Pharaoh and still cling whole heartedly to the concept of man's free will. The story begins with Moses pleading with Pharaoh to let his people go and the hardness of Pharaoh's heart in refusing Moses' request. It seems like a typical story of good versus evil and man's free will set against each other. But as the story continues, the true protagonist of the drama steps forward. As the plagues unfold, God reveals more and more to Moses that it is God, not Pharaoh, who is hardening Pharaoh's heart so that God is able to show His power to Egypt and all the earth. In Exodus 9:16, God discloses his true intentions to Pharaoh. God put Pharaoh there, raised him up, for the sole purpose of his hardened heart, so that God's glory and power can be shown amongst the nations. Pharaoh's will seems to have had no place in the story. God raised him up to be his enemy. It would be too much to fully explore the depths and implications of what God's hardening of hearts and the creation of some people for honorable or dishonorable use (Romans 9) means to man's precious free will. But I must say, if God's will is supreme and his glory the purpose driving all his actions, it is difficult to see man's will as free in the sense we claim it be. I challenge us to chew on that today and see the beauty of God's purposes and in his control over the will of man.

Lord Jesus let us repent of our entitlement in placing our will as more powerful or of equal power as yours. Let us see your glory amongst the nations as the greatest purpose to which all of creation bows!

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