The word “harden” or “hardened” is used nineteen times in the ESV version of Exodus. In every case, it referred to Pharaoh and the hardening of his heart.
Miracle after miracle the Lord showed Pharaoh through his servants Moses and Aaron, yet, Pharaoh would not listen and his heart became more against Moses and the people. In Ex 9:30 Moses even realizes something true about Pharaoh, “But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.”
At that point, seven plagues had befallen Egypt. Pharaoh had witnessed that the Lord spared His people in Goshen, but that the rest of Egypt had experienced the plagues. And still Moses was able to say “you do not yet fear the Lord God.”
As I read Exodus 8-9, the word hardened reverberated in my heart. It caused me to stop and ask, “is there any area in my life where my heart is hardened?” Unfortunately, there are some places where I need to trust the Father more, most deal in relationships.
We like to try to “fix” things on our own, because, after all, that is what we do. But sometimes, I think we need to let go of our “death grip” on some situations, some relationships, and allow the Lord to work and bring healing. Only then will our hearts experience the joy that comes from true fellowship with the Lord.