In our study of Exodus chapter seven, we will look at the battle between God and the false gods of Egypt. The main false god of Egypt was the Pharaoh and, as we saw in chapter six, he had disobeyed God by refusing to let the Israelites leave. This begins a battle between all of their false gods and the one true God.
"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.'" NIV translation
At the end of the last chapter, Moses had asked God why Pharaoh would listen to him. God's answer is that His power was going to be demonstrated through Moses and that Moses was going to be His mouthpiece. Moses had had doubts about his speaking ability so God appointed his brother Aaron to speak on his behalf.
"'You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you.'" NIV translation
Once again, God gave Moses his marching orders but He went on to explain that Moses' words were not going to convince Pharaoh.
We see that God told Moses that He was going to "harden Pharaoh's heart". What does that mean? The Hebrew word is "qa sheh" and it is used to describe a heart that is difficult and not easily penetrated.
God was telling Moses that He was going to reveal the fact that Pharaoh's heart would not easily be penetrated because he considered himself to be god.
"'Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.'" NIV translation
God completes Moses' instructions with the reassurance that, in the end, the efforts will succeed. God went on to explain the reason for allowing this temporary disobedience and not just eliminating Pharaoh. That reason was so that the rest of the Egyptians would see that the real God of the universe is in control.