Exodus 6:28-7:5 (ESV)
On the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, the LORD said to Moses, “I am the LORD; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.” But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?”
And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”
Notice that the LORD does not say to Moses, “See, I have made you like A God to Pharaoh.” He says, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh.” He uses the word “Elohim” here – the Hebrew word for the monotheistic creator. But, since Pharaoh has no concept of a monotheistic creator, how can Moses be that to him already?
The answer is in the word “like.” God isn’t saying that Pharaoh perceives Moses as the creator; He’s saying that, to Pharaoh, Moses is like God. In other words, Pharaoh will view Moses as all powerful. Moses should stop worrying about his inability to impress Pharaoh. Now he will be so powerful, he will be like God to Pharaoh.
Moses needs to understand this because Pharaoh isn’t going to listen to him. But this isn’t because of Moses’ weaknesses; the LORD will harden Pharaoh’s heart for the specific purpose of demonstrating His power and His identity.
In other words, this isn’t going to go well for a while. Get ready for that, Moses.
Every Christian needs to expect, and be prepared for, hardened hearts. People aren’t just unreceptive to the gospel; many actively oppose it. Many of us were once that way too.
While we can’t do the tricks Moses did, we are connected to unimaginable power. Our plans may be thwarted, but His never are. Take heart whenever your plans go awry. God is always up to something.
So, how do we prepare for hardened hearts? The same way we prepare for everything – through training.
The purpose of the church is to glorify God by fostering the growth and sanctification of people. There is a marvelous interplay between the individual growth of Christians and the growth of the organizations that foster that growth. Training grows Christians and that grows the church.
Every Christian leader started out as a beginner. The things they now lead are the outgrowth of the training they received earlier.