Over and over again, God has manifested His power and control to man. Even when the absolute certainty of God’s intervention is revealed, even though God was in the very act of exercising His authority and evil was being dealt with very, very harshly, they did not repent. Incredible but true. Listen to a perfect example of how hard the heart of man can be.
Exodus 9:13-35 (NKJ)
13 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me,
14 for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.
15 Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the earth.
16 But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.
17 As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go.
18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now.
19 Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die.”‘”
20 He who feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses.
21 But he who did not regard the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field.
22 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt– on man, on beast, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.”
23 And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt.
24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
25 And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field.
26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.
27 And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and my people and I are wicked.
28 Entreat the LORD, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.”
29 And Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORD’S.
30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you will not yet fear the LORD God.”
31 Now the flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud.
32 But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they are late crops.
33 So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and spread out his hands to the LORD; then the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain was not poured on the earth.
34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants.
35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the LORD had spoken by Moses.
God revealed to Pharaoh his role. “For this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” and then told him why he was going to be dealt with harshly. “As yet you exalt yourself.”
This same Pharaoh who behaved as though he was entitled to power in and of his own hand, stated that he had changed his mind, after seeing God’s power. And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and my people and I are wicked.”
This confession was insincere, as you can read. Once the rain, hail and thunder ceased, “he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart.” Is this a pattern in the lives of those who exalt themselves? Are they humbled by circumstance only to “rise again?” Wouldn’t you think that God’s manifest power, demonstrated clearly to them would change their hearts? Has God revealed His power to you? If so, do you now acknowledge Him as your Lord? The fact that man acknowledges His power one moment and returns to sinful ways the next is a phenomenon that is hard to explain.
We usually attribute the failure to repent to wicked people, bent on self exaltation. But listen to Nehemiah as the stubbornness of Israel is discussed.
Nehemiah 9:6-36 (NKJ)
6 You alone are the LORD; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.
7 “You are the LORD God, who chose Abram, and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and gave him the name Abraham;
8 You found his heart faithful before You, and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites– to give it to his descendants. You have performed Your words, for You are righteous.
9 “You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heard their cry by the Red Sea.
10 You showed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his servants, and against all the people of his land. For You knew that they acted proudly against them. So You made a name for Yourself, as it is this day.
11 And You divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors You threw into the deep, as a stone into the mighty waters.
12 Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the road which they should travel.
13 “You came down also on Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them just ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments.
14 You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses Your servant.
15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, and brought them water out of the rock for their thirst, and told them to go in to possess the land which You had sworn to give them.
16 “But they and our fathers acted proudly, hardened their necks, and did not heed Your commandments.
17 They refused to obey, and they were not mindful of Your wonders that You did among them. But they hardened their necks, and in their rebellion they appointed a leader to return to their bondage. But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.
18 “Even when they made a molded calf for themselves, and said, ‘This is your god that brought you up out of Egypt,’ and worked great provocations,
19 Yet in Your manifold mercies you did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day, to lead them on the road; nor the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way they should go.
20 You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.
21 Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness, they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.
22 “Moreover You gave them kingdoms and nations, and divided them into districts. So they took possession of the land of Sihon, the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.
23 You also multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and brought them into the land which You had told their fathers to go in and possess.
24 So the people went in and possessed the land; you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they wished.
25 And they took strong cities and a rich land, and possessed houses full of all goods, cisterns already dug, vineyards, olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and grew fat, and delighted themselves in Your great goodness.
26 “Nevertheless they were disobedient and rebelled against You, cast Your law behind their backs and killed Your prophets, who testified against them to turn them to Yourself; and they worked great provocations.
27 Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who oppressed them; and in the time of their trouble, when they cried to You, you heard from heaven; and according to Your abundant mercies you gave them deliverers who saved them from the hand of their enemies.
28 “But after they had rest, they again did evil before You. Therefore You left them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them; yet when they returned and cried out to You, you heard from heaven; and many times You delivered them according to Your mercies,
29 And testified against them, that You might bring them back to Your law. Yet they acted proudly, and did not heed Your commandments, but sinned against Your judgments, ‘Which if a man does, he shall live by them.’ And they shrugged their shoulders, Stiffened their necks, and would not hear.
30 Yet for many years You had patience with them, and testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets. Yet they would not listen; therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
31 Nevertheless in Your great mercy you did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; for You are God, gracious and merciful.
32 “Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and awesome God, who keeps covenant and mercy: do not let all the trouble seem small before You that has come upon us, our kings and our princes, our priests and our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until this day.
33 However You are just in all that has befallen us; for You have dealt faithfully, but we have done wickedly.
34 Neither our kings nor our princes, our priests nor our fathers, have kept Your law, nor heeded Your commandments and Your testimonies, with which You testified against them.
35 For they have not served You in their kingdom, or in the many good things that You gave them, or in the large and rich land which You set before them; nor did they turn from their wicked works.
36 “Here we are, servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, to eat its fruit and its bounty, here we are, servants in it!
First we see God leading and protecting, over and over again, only to see Israel do things like build a golden calf that they could worship. No people on earth have seen the affirmation and leading of God like Israel. Yet, no people, given as much attention and affirmation as Israel, has continued to struggle with obedience, in the way that Israel has struggled. Read the last 5 verses above and ask yourself if you see any truth in those verses.
When the end of this world comes, as we know it, there will be seven bowls of God’s wrath poured out upon the earth (Revelation, chapter 16). The bowls of wrath will produce phenomenon much like the judgments against Pharaoh. Listen to the description of the seventh bowl of wrath.
Revelation 16:15-21 (NKJ)
15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!”
18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.
19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.
20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.
Even then, men blasphemed God, acknowledging His power but not accessing his Grace or His forgiveness. What does it take to have a person repent? Surely it is not “more evidence” of God’s power. One might ask, how could anyone choose to suffer and die when they could choose life? Listen.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NKJ)
19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
20 “that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
It is God’s will that you choose life. You need an “Enabler,” a power beyond your flesh to deliver you from the temptations of the flesh and the power of sin. That “Enabler” is the Spirit of God, in you. Go to the chapter “The Holy Spirit” to more fully grasp how to have victory over sin, by the power of God, but understand that when you fully grasp the meaning of the fulfilled promise of a “Deliverer,” you are going to need to repent in order to be redeemed. The Messiah said the following words:
John 12:31-43 (NKJ)
31 “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
34 The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
36 “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.
37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,
38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:
40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.”
41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.
42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;
43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Re-read the last two verses and understand that stepping out from tradition to a personal relationship with your Savior will, as a Jew, place you at odds with many persons. The estimate of the quality of your life is not dependent on the praise of men. There are Jews for Jesus who are Torah observant and who find no contradiction in their decision. There are Jews for Judaism who say the Messiah has not come and that Jesus was not the Christ. Someone is wrong. You decide, based on the evidence. Remember, “evidence” can be ignored and prophecy fulfilled does not mean your life will be changed because of that evidence. The Messiah anticipated your need to understand how difficult it would be for you to follow Him. Listen.
Matthew 10:26-39 (NKJ)
26 “… For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.
28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
33 “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
35 “For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;
36 “and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39 “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
The power to obey God faithfully is beyond the reach of most men. We try, and we find examples such as Abraham where his faith was counted unto him as righteousness, but for the most part, our faith is too weak, the power of the flesh, too strong. The power to “not sin” is beyond the reach of every man. Again, listen to the words of Jesus Christ regarding why He came. He came to empower you, by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Listen.
Luke 24:44-47 (NKJ)
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47 “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Jesus came that His Name might lead to your repentance and mine and that His shed blood might provide for the remission of your sins and mine. And where did Jesus say that repentance and remission of sins should first be preached? “Beginning at Jerusalem.” Listen to this quotation of “empowerment.”
John 14:12-28 (NKJ)
12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
16 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever–
17 “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.
20 “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.
26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
28 “You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.
Do not underestimate the power and purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our personal unworthiness prevents us from easily moving to the view that we can have the “Mind of Christ” in us or that we are referred to as priests and as saints, but that is exactly what the Word says. This transformation is a miracle, made possible by God. We do not escape the liability of the flesh as long as we are housed in this body, but God knows our weaknesses and temptations. Memorize this verse. It is the absolute truth.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJ)
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
The reason that prophecy fulfilled has not led to repentance is that “evidence” only convicts if the person viewing that evidence knows they are guilty and then chooses to repent. It is always about “choice,” the exercise of personal volition. Choose to escape from temptation and sin, from the power of Satan in your life. Reread the verse above and claim it as you face every decision.