The Pharaoh wanted to be in control, because he thought he was a god, he saw absolutely no need of God. Nine disasters had happened in Egypt, and still he ignored God. He was stubborn, he was prideful, he was in control, and it was clear he would not change.
So many of us think we are in control; yet when adversity hits, we fall apart.
Fortunately for us, God is patient. After trying to get Pharaoh’s attention nine different times, He tried one last time….
“God said to Moses: ‘I’m going to hit Pharaoh and Egypt one final time, and then he’ll let you go. When he releases you, that will be the end of Egypt for you; he won’t be able to get rid of you fast enough.’” (Exodus 11:1, MSG)
If he would listen to God, he would end his prideful stubbornness. If he didn’t, he would miss getting to know our living God.
This is what would happen: Then Moses confronted Pharaoh: ‘God’s Message: “At midnight I will go through Egypt and every firstborn child in Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl working at her hand mill. Also the firstborn of animals. Widespread wailing will erupt all over the country, lament such as has never been and never will be again. But against the Israelites—man, woman, or animal—there won’t be so much as a dog’s bark, so that you’ll know that God makes a clear distinction between Egypt and Israel.” Then all these servants of yours will go to their knees, begging me to leave, “Leave! You and all the people who follow you!” And I will most certainly leave.’ Moses, seething with anger, left Pharaoh.” (Exodus 11:4-8 MSG).
This was not good news.
However, both the Israelites and the Egyptians had the option of avoiding this particular tribulation, as bad as it was. All they had to do was put their trust in God: “Moses assembled all the elders of Israel. He said, ‘Select a lamb for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the bowl of blood and smear it on the lintel and on the two doorposts. No one is to leave the house until morning. God will pass through to strike Egypt down. When he sees the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, God will pass over the doorway; he won’t let the destroyer enter your house to strike you down with ruin.’” (Exodus 12:21-23 MSG).
The Israelites did what they were instructed to do. They put their trust in God. Any Egyptian would have been able to do the same; however, many Egyptians were too proud to follow suite. Pride would be their downfall. How sad!
“At midnight God struck every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, right down to the firstborn of the prisoner locked up in jail. Also the firstborn of the animals. Pharaoh got up that night, he and all his servants and everyone else in Egypt—what wild wailing and lament in Egypt! There wasn’t a house in which someone wasn’t dead.” (Exodus 12: 29-30 MSG).
That night became the worst night ever. All the firstborns who were not under the protection of the blood died. Even the firstborn of Pharaoh himself.
The Egyptians became afraid of Israel. They wanted them to leave, and they gave them many gifts as they left. Israel left Egypt under God’s protection. Even the seas opened up for them to pass through.
Unfortunately, Pharaoh, as proud as ever, changed his mind. He went after the Israelites. No way would he let them go. They were his slaves! While they were chasing the Israelites, God closed the ocean and the Pharaoh and his soldiers drowned in the Red Sea while Israel was saved. Pharaoh’s pride and stubbornness destroyed both himself and his people. Pride is the downfall of everyone.
While I served a year as the French Consultant for my school board, it was suggested that I might want to become a principal. It made me proud that someone would think this of me, and when I went back to teaching, I started taking the required classes. Because of this interest in becoming a principal, I was asked from time to time to be the “teacher-in-charge” at my school, the one who would replace the principal and vice-principal when they were away.
God began to speak to me then, and I would soon realize being in charge didn’t make me happy. My students were unhappy because I was in the office most of the time and someone else had to teach them, and seeing them so unhappy killed me. I understood that I had allowed myself to become a bit derailed from my passion. I resolved then and there that I did not want to become a principal, and I asked my principal to release me from the teacher-in-charge duties. Is anyone surprised that I was again at peace?
It is way better to follow our Heavenly Father. When we follow Him, peace will return on our heart: “People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit.” (Is. 26:3 MSG).
If you need victory, ask our living Father. He will come through: Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?” (Matt. 7:7-11 MSG) .
He can save you, He can help you, He can break your addictions, He can humble you and take away your stubbornness. He can do anything! You, too, can be victorious!
(To access the entire “Hope in the Distance” devotional series, please click here.)