Exodus 9:27 – And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
Hey all, short blog today, in fact very short blog today! We all know about Pharaoh, he was the bad guy that had the Israelites under slavery in Egypt. God sent Moses to free the children of Israel, and lead them out of Egypt and to the promised land that he had promised to Abraham their father. But Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go, so God sent plague after plague at the hand of Moses so that Pharaoh and the Egyptians would let Israel go. The plagues were devastating, and got worse and worse, and after the plagues Pharaoh would call Moses to make it stop and offer compromises, he would even say sorry, but did not let them go. The final plague however, which was the death of the firstborn, brought about Pharaoh finally releasing Israel free to go. Pharaoh did it all, said it all, saw it all, experienced it all, but his heart was hard to God the Bible says. He was very sorry, and very repentant, but his sorry did not last. And he is a lesson to us today.
We are going to look at this story briefly today in the context of repentance. Pharaoh is a picture of false repentance, worldly repentance. It is good to read the story found in Exodus with 2 Corinthians 7:8-12. Bearing in mind that Paul was dealing with an issue first raised in 1 Corinthians 5. Life can get tough, and God uses real life to dredge out what’s in our hearts. Our character, our heart, our life is proven in life. God works on all people’s hearts, but few actually turn and change, few have something that lasts. It is because any sorry, any change, that does not lead you to saving belief in Jesus Christ is temporary sorry, it isn’t a repentance that will last. Many people reach times of extreme personal crisis in their lives, and they turn to God, but the crisis eases, time goes by, the crisis is over, and those people go back to whatever vomit they were first chowing down on, just as the true proverb Peter wrote of in 2 Peter 2 says. It is why the Bible exhorts us not to fail of the grace of God, not to receive the word in vain, not to taste and see that the Lord is good but then draw back to perdition. True repentance is turning FROM sin TO Jesus Christ. It’s not just sorry and that’s it. Many people know they’re sinners. Hey, Pharaoh did. He finally acknowledged God as righteous, and himself and his people as wicked and sinful. But they don’t necessarily turn to Jesus Christ… There are many examples in the Bible of people who were sorry, who knew the truth, but did not actually find a place of repentance… like Esau for example… he was very sorry over the birthright he forfeited for a morsel of food.
Pharaoh said he was sorry. Look at the quoted verse above. He acknowledged his sin, his and his people’s wickedness and the Lord’s righteousness. In fact, he got a lot further than what most people do. We don’t see many people even going as far as Pharaoh did in acknowledging truths about God and about himself. But we see that not much later this same man who is tumbling out “repentance” is murderously pursuing the children of Israel to the shores of the Red Sea.
Pharaoh “repented” of his repentance. True repentance that leads to salvation is not repented of, but false repentance is repented of. Exodus 14:5 – And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? It was just like the plagues, Pharaoh was sorry until they relented, and then he slipped straight back into what and who he truly was. True repentance produces salvation NOT to be repented of (2 Corinthians 7:10)… when someone truly repents it produces an everlasting change. It is permanent. John the Baptist preached repentance, and when the Pharisees came to be baptized he said bring forth fruits meet for repentance. It is easy to tell if someone has repented or not, because repentance produces change, a different attitude to sin, when someone repents God gets involved (he is involved anyway) and the Holy Spirit goes to work in that person’s life, and when God comes to stay, he stays forever in your heart. It’s not just a swept and garnished job (Luke 11:25), but a new creature born of the Holy Spirit… we must be born again… not an overhaul job, not an upgrade… a new creature! Just as the new birth is permanent, just as Christ in us endures to the end. But there is the false, surface level repentance, the heart is not truly broken or truly turned to Jesus Christ, and the new leaf withers and the life and actions manifest that inner nakedness of no true repentance, and no Holy Spirit of God inside.
Don’t be found out as this bloke was. Matthew 22:12,13 – And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Don’t let this be you. The light has come into the world, the Bible says the true light now shineth… the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the light, the TRUE Light… but will the day star arise in your hearts, will he arise in your heart, with healing in his wings? Or will you choose to remain in darkness? It’s fearful to have known the truth, as Jesus said it would be better had you never known, had you never heard. Woe unto all of us who hear the gospel, who know the truth, but turn from it, that trample the blood of Christ under our feet. Oh, and we’d never say we do, but our life is one that speaks louder, and the blood cries against us, we have blood on our hands, we are blood guilty, guilty of the blood that speaks better things than of Abel.
2 Peter 2:21 – For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
2 Peter 2:22 – But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Pharaoh said sorry, and then he thought better of it. Was your sorry to God a sorry like Pharaoh’s? Did it produce new life, did it produce fruits meet for repentance, are the unmistakable birthmarks of the new birth there? Peter walked on water, and he repented after he denied Christ, but Pharaoh went under, he drowned in the Red Sea.