In chapter 8, we see that Pharaoh does the same with the plague of frogs. God sends frogs everywhere and Pharaoh's magicians reproduce the plague - adding to the misery, but they are unable to make the frogs go away once they set in. The people of Egypt suffer at the poor decision of their leader.
The truth is that any ruler no matter how well intentioned cannot provide for the needs of the people better than God and doesn't have wisdom to govern that is greater than God's. Our leaders would do well to yield to God's authority and to recognize their complete dependence on Him. Whether in government or in business or ruling the home, leadership without God brings more trouble than relief.
Pharaoh does something almost amusing if it weren't for the suffering that was taking place throughout the land. Pharaoh recognizes that only God himself can remove the frogs and asks Moses to pray. So that there would be no question about God's power, Moses has Pharaoh set the time the frogs are to leave. Pharaoh says, "tomorrow". He could have had immediate relief but chose to suffer one more night.
Now you would think that Pharaoh would see a pattern of trouble escalating because of his stubborn heart toward God, but every time he had relief he resumed his former stance against God. Even the magicians recognized the hand of God. Certainly the people of the land were convinced that God was behind these plagues against them, particularly as the plague of flies never touched the land of Goshen where the Israelites lived because God made a hedge of protection for His people Ex 8:22-23. If we belong to The Lord, he will always keep us in his care.
Before we beat up on Pharaoh too much, let's examine our own hearts and our choices as a nation. When trouble comes to us we are usually quick to look to God - perhaps for blame, but definitely for relief. When relief comes and the intense suffering is past the intensity of our prayers the centering of our daily routines returns to "normal".
On September 11th, I remember churches being packed for prayer, crying out to God and wanting something to make sense of this horrible tragedy. Life was intense at that moment and our utter dependence on God was very real. In the year that have passed, the church attendance again has dwindled and we as a nation don't look for God quite so intently. I personally have had trials that have driven me to my knees and then have returned to my more friendly and casual conversation with God after finding relief.
Pharaoh however increased his hard heart toward God after seeing relief and God increase the plagues to bring even greater suffering. Pharaoh did it to his nation and he did it to himself because he refused to submit to a higher authority than himself. We can attest that trouble usually comes with companions rarely is it one isolated incident.
Is it possible that in our times of want and need that God is trying to increase our faith and turn us from self-sufficiency and have us realize that our sufficiency is in God alone? As a nation and as individuals we are utterly dependent on God for our provision. We have our hope in Him.
When considering our trials, let's take time to soften our hearts toward God and learn our lesson the first time.
May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him.