Lord of The Heart
Passage: Exodus 6:24–7:13
Community Group Questions: Exodus 6:28-7:13 - "Lord of the Heart"
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Read Exodus 6:28-7:13 aloud as a group and work through the following questions together:
- How would you answer the following question: “Who ultimately controls your heart – you or God?” How do you think most people in our culture today would answer that question?
- God makes a very provocative claim in our passage: He says, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen…” (vv. 3-4a). In other words, the ultimate explanation for why Pharaoh becomes more stubborn is that God is hardening his heart. What do you make of this idea? Does it trouble you? Puzzle you? Comfort you? Why?
- The reality of Pharaoh’s hardening heart is mentioned 20 times in the book of Exodus. Sometimes these passages say, “The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (see 9:12). Other times, these texts say, “Pharaoh’s heart was hardened” (see 7:13). Still other times, they say, “Pharaoh hardened his own heart” (see 8:15). These are three different perspectives on the very same event: Pharaoh’s increasing resistance to God. Comparing these phrases, what do we learn about divine sovereignty and human responsibility? How do they relate to each other?
- Notice the tool that God uses to harden Pharaoh: God uses truth. The very same miracle (Moses’ staff turning into a serpent and back again) that was used by God to “soften” the Israelites to belief was also used to “harden” Pharaoh to resist God even more (compare Exodus 4:29-31 with 7:8-13). In the same way, the same gospel truth is used by God to “soften” hearts and “harden” them (read 2 Corinthians 2:14-16). How should this knowledge of God’s sovereignty encourage and embolden us to share the truth of the gospel with friends and loved ones who need to hear it?
- This issue of God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart raises even deeper questions: We wonder, “Why would God harden Pharaoh, and then judge him for his resistance?” Analyze Exodus 7:3-5 and Exodus 9:13-16, and wrestle together for an answer to the following question: Why, ultimately, did God harden Pharaoh’s heart, and why, ultimately, would God harden any human heart? (A suggested answer: to reveal his mighty power to judge and to save).
- How does this doctrine of God’s complete sovereignty over every human heart inspire gratitude (for our own salvation) and hope (for the salvation of others)?
Prayer suggestion: Pray for the hearts of those in your life who do not yet know Christ. Pray that God would open and soften their hearts to believe. As a community group, commit to praying for one another this week in your evangelistic efforts.