For the longest time, I have wondered why the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh when dealing with the Israelites in Exodus. After reading Exodus 14 today, it became clearer. The Egyptians did not worship God. They believed in their own gods and it was in them that they placed their faith. Their culture was also deeply embedded in those beliefs. Their hearts and minds belonged to that culture.
Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” And they did so. Exodus 14:4 NKJV
The Lord was looking to gain honor over Pharaoh, the leader of the Egyptians. He was after the hearts of the Egyptians, that they may know who He is. When Pharaoh pursued the Isrealites, they called out to the Father of Heaven and Earth. The mightiest army was pursuing the Isrealites. It caused the children of Isreal to even question why the Lord had brought them out of Egypt – to die by the hand of the Egyptian army? They even question who they serve.
Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:12 NKJV
Moses provides the answer. It is the salvation of the Lord in which he delivers us from death. It is in Him that we can have peace.
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14