In Order to Show My Power [Exodus 9]
12And the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.
13Then the LORD said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me.14"For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. 15"For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. 16"But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. 17"Still you exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go.
Pharaoh was a stubborn man. But he probably didn't know why he was so stubborn. The scriptures say that it was the LORD who hardened his heart after he initially hardened it himself. It was time for the whole earth to hear the LORD's name proclaimed. ""But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth." Think about it - God could have wiped Pharaoh and his nation off the map right at the beginning and freed His people. But He chose to work in a way that would benefit the whole earth.
Later in the chapter Pharaoh relented for a short time after the hail came and ruined most of their crops. "Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, 'I have sinned this time; the LORD is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones. Make supplication to the LORD, for there has been enough of God's thunder and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.'" v. 27-28. "But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses."
Lord, we praise You that You are long suffering with difficult people. We praise You that You use all kinds of things to show Your power. Cause us to let our hearts be soft and receive what You have for us, even the difficult things.