In all of of my previous readings of the first few chapters of Exodus, I had found myself identifying with the people of Israel – as one who desperately needs freedom from bondage. Several years ago, I attended a women’s retreat where the speaker walked us through this exact concept – step by step until we reached the promised land…freedom.
While all of this makes sense and speaks to me still today, my reading of this passage this time surprised me as I saw myself in a new character.
Though we have met several stubborn characters in the Bible through our reading of Genesis last week, none seems quite as stubborn as Pharoah who will not let the people of Israel go regardless of the damage and destruction that his stubbornness brings.
Think on it – God sent 10 plagues in order to prove His power to Pharoah as well as to punish Pharoah for not following His commands:
- The change of water to blood
- Gnats or lice
- Livestock diseased
- Thunder and hail
- Death of the firstborn
Not until God takes Pharoah’s own son along with all of the firstborn sons in all of Egypt does Pharoah relent and allow the people of Israel to leave (spoiler alert…tomorrow’s reading…).
And now my grand confession arrives.
I find myself in the character of Pharoah.
I see God’s miraculous power one night but forget it the next morning. After dedicating myself to God’s will on Sunday morning, I go back to being on “the throne” in my life, and I want to do things my way the following Monday.
I allow my stubborn, hard heart of pride and fear to rule over me when I do not look daily at the face of God and remember His faithfulness to me.
This is a hard thing to admit!
When I am more like Pharoah, I bring destruction on myself. No – I have not had frogs invade my home, but I have seen the negative impact that Pharoah-like thinking and behavior has on my life and the lives of those around me.
Our lack of focus on God and His purposes can have destructive outcomes.
To combat this, I must daily choose to follow God’s purpose in my life, to submit to Him, and to “let His people go.”
As I write this, I realize I am Pharoah and Israel at the same time.
I am both in bondage and the one binding – at the same time. I must let myself follow God. It sounds complicated, but there is truth in this!
I want to rule over myself while at the same time want to let myself be free to follow God and His will. I want to be king of my own heart but realize that in doing so I am a slave to sin. No one else need to condemn me, for I am my own worst accuser, jailer, and (figuratively) executioner.
And just like Pharoah, I have taken my stubbornness – at times – to disastrous lengths.
And just like Pharoah, I have brought consequences upon myself and those around me because of my unwillingness to recognize the will and work of God in my life.
Galations 5: 1 speaks to my heart and reminds me that I am free when I bind myself to God.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery
So many times I see God and His will as an unreasonable yoke, but the unreasonable yoke is actually my own stubbornness which holds me captive to my sinful, prideful, and fearful will.
I am so thankful for people who – like Moses did for Pharoah – bring warning to me, redirect my path, and point me to God. I am also grateful for God’s grace and mercy which have preserved me in spite of my own choices and actions.
God’s will frees me, saves me, and preserves me.
Is this something that resonates with you today? Am I making sense? I would love to have some discussion about this in comment section.