The Spirit of Pharaoh fall2003 crossedarms.html

Moses was asked by God to deliver his people, the Israelites, out of bondage from the Pharaoh of Egypt. Moses and his brother Aaron went obediently to Pharaoh and gave him the word of the Lord. Pharaoh’s first reply to Moses was,

Pharaoh 5:2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.”

Sadly, the story goes downhill for Pharaoh from there. As God introduces himself on the scene of Pharaoh’s life it’s not a pretty greeting. Three chapters later we find Pharaoh in the same place. After God has begun to send plagues to the land of Egypt, Pharaoh cries uncle in the midst of each plague and then reverts back to his old ways of thinking once the danger is gone.

Exodus 8:8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD.” 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.” 10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the LORD our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.” 12 After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the LORD about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the LORD did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14 They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.

How frustrating it must have been for Moses who saw hardship escalate in the land where he was raised. How misguided Pharaoh was to give a word and then retract it once the danger was over. Yet, that spirit follows us today. How many times do we pray to God making deals to get out of situations only to find that we once the danger is over the deal is off and our hearts are hardened once again? How often do we make promises and then mid-stream determine that we no longer want to fulfill them? Rather than deal honestly with the real issue at hand, losing control of our lives, we instead cast the bait and then retract it.

For Pharaoh, the end result was the death of his first born son. What will it be for us? What price is too high to pay? Why not allow our word to define our character and not make deals we were never intending to keep? Why not allow God to move in our lives?

One thought on “The Spirit of Pharaoh

  1. Your post reminded me of Solomon’s warning in Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5: “When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.”

    I remember that movie with Burt Reynolds “The End” where he acts the part of a hypochondriac who overhears a conversation about a terminal patient and thinks it’s about him. At the end of the movie he decides to swim out into the ocean until he drowns, thinking it will be a “romantic” death; instead he gets out there and changes his mind. So he begins bargaining with God, “Lord, if you’ll help me get back to shore, I’ll give you 75% of my money!” When he reached halfway, he changed it to 50% then 20%, 10% and lastly, when he walked out on the beach, he told God, “Hey, I’ll get back to you later.”

    I laugh every time I think about it but it is so pointedly true about our nature in the midst of crisis. We must take our words seriously.

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