If you have read in Exodus of the many plagues the Lord placed over the Egyptians, you have to wonder why it took so many plagues for Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go out of Egypt. Plague after plague, Pharaoh's heart continued to be hardened and he wouldn't let the children of Israel go to worship God . If you are like me, if you were Pharaoh, you would have let the people go as soon as the waters turned to blood!
My husband and I had been reading this part of Exodus when coincidentally, my co-worker mentioned Pharaoh. She asked us why we thought Pharaoh's heart was being hardened over and over, she then told me what her pastor suspected. I really wasn't sure why God allowed Pharaoh's heart to be hardened, so I didn't answer, until I read Chapter 10 that same night.
"Now the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.” Verses 1&2 (also, 7:3)
"AH HA!" I said out loud! "That's why!" After I explained my outburst to Jonathan, he agreed, there was our answer.
God hardened Pharaoh's heart over and over because He wanted to finish out the plagues He was bringing before Egypt. He did not want anyone to forget those signs which He had brought to free the Israelites. He didn't want the Egyptians to forget, nor the children of Israel. He wanted it so that generation after generation, after generation would remember.
Do you think the Egyptians would have forgotten the first plague of water turned to blood? Or what about the second plague where frogs were everywhere, even on people's beds? Maybe they wouldn't have forgotten, but in Exodus 1:8, there came a day when the new king didn't remember Joseph, or how he had gotten Egypt through seven years of famine! God knew that just has Joseph (Israel) was forgotten, so would the plagues if they were not carried out.
We must remember that God is in control, and is full of power. We need to love Him with much fear and reverence for He is a powerful, holy God.