(13:30 PSTSee addendum below.)
It always irritates me when folks think they're smarter than God. (You may have noticed.)
One of the subtler forms is folks who, though faced with a directive from Scripture, "reason out" how they aren't obliged to obey because "it won't work." It's usually buried under a lot more verbiage than that, and made to sound deep and wise and plausible. But that's what it amounts to: "Sure, God says to do ___, but I've figured out that that won't work. So I don't have to do it. And I won't. Because I'm too smart."
In that light, ponder this interchange from Scripture.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may do these miraculous signs of Mine among them...." (Exodus 10:1)"For" = because, the Hebrew conjunction kî. Simple causal conjunction. B, because A.
"Go in to Pharaoh and talk to him, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them" -- now, there's a verse worth pondering. Go in, because I have hardened his heart (and so, he won't listen to you). Can you imagine the dialogue a modern autonom might launch?
"Go in, because I've hardened his heart."Now, Yahweh does do for Moses what He does not always do for us. He gives him a peek at His grander purpose. It is so that He can show His wonders (v. 1), and "so that you may tell your son and grandson how severely I dealt with the Egyptians and performed miraculous signs among them, and you will know that I am the LORD" (v. 2).
"But — You've hardened his heart!"
"What 'but'? I have my purpose, you have your orders. You don't need to know the former. You do know the latter. Go."
God was not committing Himself to nightly miracle-displays, like some Las Vegas magician. Those living at Moses' time were to see the miracles, and tell their sons and grandsons. Generation after generation would be in the position in which we find ourselves (pace our signs-'n'-wonders friends): the Word of God was to be sufficient. Miracles were to be transmitted verbally, not repeated endlessly.
And as Yahweh said it would be, so it was.
But this didn't make hardened cynics out of Moses and Aaron. They
went in to Pharaoh and told him, "This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may worship Me. But if you refuse to let My people go, then tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory" (10:3-4)What God would do, God would do. That wasn't the brothers' immediate concern. They had their marching-orders. That was their immediate concern. They didn't need polling, a focus-group, or slick marketing. They knew both what to do and what to say.
And, most of the time, so do we.
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:21-25)