Q. A Christian friend and I study the Bible together and she is confused why God seems to take away a person’s free will by hardening their hearts, such as He did with Pharaoh, and in Psalm 105:25, “Whose hearts He turned to hate His people.” These are just a few examples in the Bible. She feels that these people didn’t have a chance to make their own decision. I am concerned that this can cause a “seed” of unbelief or doubt in her heart, since she is a fairly new Christian. Could you please address this?
A. If I recall, Exodus contains 14 references to Pharaoh’s heart being hardened. Seven attribute the action to God and seven are Pharoah’s own doing. But it’s important to remember that Pharaoh claimed to be a god and set himself in direct opposition to the God of Israel (Exodus 5:2). It seems to me like he gave up certain rights when he did this.
Psalm 105:25 also refers to the Egyptian leaders who ordered the death of all newborn male babies to limit the Jewish population. In Genesis 12:3 God said He would curse the people who cursed Abraham’s offspring.
God doesn’t want any to perish but for all to come to repentance (1 Tim. 2:1-4, 2 Peter 3:9), but people who deliberately set themselves up as His enemy are only getting what they deserve.
In the 10 commandments God said He would punish those who hate Him and love those who love Him (Exodus 20:5-6). He’s doing exactly what He said He would do.
You should caution your friend against blaming God for the actions of men. She should get to know Him better before she starts questioning His motives.