God states His sovereign reason for the things that He has done in Exodus 10:2, “that you may know that I am the LORD.” His greatest desire is for us to know Him and to submit to His ultimate authority. He had the same desire for the Egyptians if we read carefully (Ex. 14:4, 18).
It is also interesting to note in the narrative language all the exchange between the LORD hardening Pharaoh’s heart and Pharaoh himself hardening his heart towards the LORD. It appears that the LORD was certainly patient with Pharaoh and gave him every opportunity to let the people go without catastrophic consequences, yet he continued to be rebellious and stubborn in his insistence to keep the children of Israel as slaves, not acknowledging the true God. The LORD even sent Pharaoh’s magicians and servants as messengers at times trying to reason with him as to the nature of the destruction that his hard heart was causing (Ex. 8:19; 10:7; 12:33). We can conclude that indeed the LORD gave Pharaoh every chance to turn around and repent before it was too late. To that end we can conclude with other Scripture passages that our God is a kind and compassionate God who is gracious and merciful to those who call upon Him (Ex. 34:6, 2 Chronicles 30:9, Psalm 116:5, Joel 2:13, Rom. 10:13).
To sum up in conclusion, it can be said that Pharaoh was given every opportunity that anyone else would be given for a relationship with the LORD and it was his choice to disregard the LORD’s offer. This was known to the Sovereign LORD from the beginning, but still He reached out His hand to the king of Egypt in an effort to show him grace and mercy, and to make His glory known to mankind through these miraculous signs and wonders. When Pharaoh was encountered by the living God, the LORD, by His very nature, was so repugnant in Pharaoh’s fallen, depraved, and prideful state that the thought of entering a subservient position hardened his heart. In other words, Pharaoh was not going to have anything to do with this God because he considered himself to be god of the universe. This put Pharaoh in a position where no one could impart to him the truth. It was a self-absorbed position that had no place for a relationship with the Creator. The idea of a Supreme Being drove him away from any desire for relationship. God had hardened his heart and He justly sent discipline and wrath upon him and his kingdom. So then the question comes back down to us, “Will we fear God in our own lives, repent of sin, and turn in faith to His Divine direction for our own lives? Or, will we be stubborn and prideful, unrelenting to God’s sovereign authority to our own demise and destruction?” These are sobering questions with which to grapple. What we do know is that the LORD’s way is always the best and His favor rests with it! God has made Himself known to us through Jesus Christ our Savior and desires for us to have a deep and intimate relationship with Him forever!