When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments. (Exodus 7:4, NASB)
Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. (Exodus 7:11-13, NASB)
Because Pharaoh was prideful and was not poor in spirit he would not heed the word of the LORD. In Hebrew the word used here for heed is a verb meaning to hear, to obey, to listen, to be heard of, to be regarded, to cause to hear, to proclaim, to sound aloud. Pharaoh did none of the above when Moses and Aaron brought God’s message to him, and he will continue to not heed the Word of God until it is too late. Being poor in spirit allows a person to heed, to hear, to understand, and to obey the word of the LORD. People cry out all the time in prayer to hear from God. Many people seek the LORD and wonder why He is not listening. God is listening and is probably speaking to them all, but one needs to be poor in spirit to have that level of fellowship with the LORD. It is not because of whom we are that God answers, it is because He is a good and awesome Lover of our souls who speaks in fellowship with those who are close in character with Himself. The Lord desires that intimacy and closeness, but because His holy character is contrary to our worldly character we need to change. Praise God He fills us with His Holy Spirit so when our hearts are submitted to Him He works in us, transforming us, into His image and character. Pharaoh would have nothing of this.
Many say if they saw a miracle they would believe or trust in Jesus to work in their lives, but in reality they would not for they continue to ignore the miracles God performs every day. The Scriptures give plenty of examples of this and the above passage (Exodus 7:11-13) is one of them. What transpired here was a true miracle of God, a voice calling out for recognition and obedience. The Lord has sent many miracles to call out to us, the biggest being the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God. People still don’t heed. Pharaoh was at the place in which he followed the fake miracles of the magicians. Magicians are illusionists and really do not perform magic at all. People continue to settle for worldly answers to spiritual issues. But Pharaoh not being filled with the Holy Spirit, or poor in spirit, ignores the miraculous and holds on to the illusion. How true this is of today. In this passage God shows His miracles are real and the miracles of the Egyptians were false by having Aaron’s rod swallow up the rods of the magicians. Still there was no heeding the Word of the LORD.
Not only was the message of God not heard or obeyed, Pharaoh turned further away. It says Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. The heart does not become hard overnight, but rather in time it becomes harder and harder. We see this in the example of Pharaoh (Exodus 7:22-23; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 12, 34-35; 10:1-2, 20, 27; and 11:9-10). We are told often Pharaoh’s heart was getting harder or that the LORD allowed Pharaoh to continue down the path he desired to go (Romans 1:28-32): out of the ear-shot of God. This is the complete opposite of being poor in spirit. The person who is poor in spirit has a heart that becomes more and more receptive to the voice of the Lord. The continuing submission to the Holy Spirit builds the desire in the person to be transformed into the character of Christ and to become closer and more intimate with his loving Father. Do you have a heart that is growing harder or a heart that is growing softer?
But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. (Hebrews 11:6, Amplified)
Examine your heart before God today in prayer. Is your heart becoming hard or soft? Are you ignoring the call of the Lord and not heeding His Word? Do you desire His guidance in your life or do you settle for the illusions of the world? Turn now and submit more to the Holy Spirit Who desires that you become like Jesus in character where you can enjoy the fellowship of His love.