I was reading Romans 9 the other day, when I noticed a familiar argument in the scriptures. The question the Apostle Paul answered was based on Exodus 9:16: “God told Pharaoh, ‘I’ve appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you, and so that my fame might spread throughout the earth.'”
The question raised in the time of Paul (I’ve also heard it today) was, “Does God blame (or condemn) people for not listening? Haven’t they simply done what God made them do?” (For the scriptures say that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he couldn’t, or wouldn’t believe in Him).
If you look at Romans 9, you’ll see how Paul answered it. But I would also like to add to my Christian brother’s response:
According to historical sources, God allowed Pharaoh to live. The scriptures say that pharaoh’s army was killed in the flooding of the sea, but never mentioned Pharaoh entering into the sea himself. So if he lived, then that means that he had to return to Egypt with nothing.
So God used Pharaoh to show Himself to the world…even to Pharaoh! Often times, before we accept Christ, we need to hit rock bottom. After his complete army was destroyed, pharaoh had to return to Egypt with nothing, for Exodus 14:9 says that all the forces in Pharaoh’s army were used in the chase (not just the best ones). Pharaoh, the one whom Egypt had hailed and worshiped as a god, was defeated by the God of his slaves – no doubt Pharaoh was humbled.
Now, Pharaoh had seen all the miracles God did through Moses, plus the killings of every first-born son in Egypt, then his best-quality chariots falling apart as they pursued the Israelites, and the event of the sea. And not a single soldier had survived. It was obvious to Pharaoh who God is, and that he himself is not. And if he is not god, then who is he? Talk about rock bottom!
So, we don’t know what happened afterwards. I mean, historical research will show us that there is evidence of such an event happening, but what happened to Pharaoh’s spiritual life? Did he cry out to God? Did he renounce the gods of Egypt? How did Egypt treat him, a loser to slaves?
For all we know, he and Moses may be hanging out together in Heaven as we speak…or, they may not. The point is, we don’t know, and we won’t until we’re hanging out with Moses, (also?).