In the book of Exodus, we see how the stubborn pride and arrogance of Pharaoh destroyed everything he coveted: his land, livestock, riches, fields, and his firstborn. Reading through the first 12 chapters, we usually look at Pharaoh as nothing more than a supporting cast member in the greater story of Moses and the Israelites. For once, I challenge you to take a closer look at Pharaoh because he actually represents us, in more ways than we might care to admit.
God knows the evil of the human heart. In Exodus 3:19, he tells Moses, “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by my mighty hand.” Yesterday, I heard Doctor Charles Stanley say, “When God says no to your desire, he is protecting you.” So, you say, “Wait a minute Ennis, you’re all over the place! What does the one thing have to do with the other?” Watch this.
We are a double standard people. How many times have we prayed to God to do something for us? At the same time, how often do we ignore the nudge of the Holy Spirit to set free a habit or an idol in our lives? When God chooses not to deliver on our human desires, how often do we get discouraged, and harden our hearts? The two passages above go hand in hand because our lives and our worship of the Lord boil down to our attitudes. Folks, often times we want God to do for us, but we don’t want to obey God.
Pharaoh’s pride and arrogance caused God to harden his heart. There was no way Pharaoh was ever going to set the Israelites free, because they were the ultimate source of Egypt’s prosperity. By their labor, Egypt prospered. When we have a good thing going, we don’t easily want to turn it loose, even if it is wrong for us.
When God tells us to set something free, we’re supposed to obey; no questions asked. But that’s not the way we roll. In our humanity, we demand that God find another way to work his blessings into our lives. We don’t consider the fact that his “NO” to a request might actually protect us from a fate far worse than what our perception recognizes.
I find it amazing that Pharaoh bore witness to supernatural plagues as a direct result of his disobedience to God, but still chose pride over submission. We do the same thing today! God says, “Put that down, now.” We say, “No! I want to keep it, and I want something else, too!” We’re like diabetic spoiled brats, throwing a tantrum over a box of sweets.
So, today I challenge you to think of your own life. We all have things to deal with, and we all want God to take away burdens and bless us at the same time. But, consider this: is there something the Holy Spirit has been poking you to put down; something you’ve refused to turn loose? How can we ask God to bless us, if we will not obey?