It starts with an accusation. Then feathers get ruffled. Pride gets hurt and we’re ready to go to war to protect our dignity. We pounce back, “Oh yeah? Well you did such and such!” And then the volley moves to the other side of the court where the cycle continues. Right or wrong, we begin to fight at all costs to keep our perceived dignity in check. This is called image management. And at the heart of this matter is pride. In today’s passage, Pharaoh’s pride—his desire to manage his image—clouds his judgment, and an entire nation suffers as a consequence.
- When have you let an impulse to protect your dignity cloud your judgment? Who or what suffered as a consequence?
READ THE WORD: EXODUS 10:1-11 (ESV)
10:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”
3 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. 4 For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, 5 and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land. And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, 6 and they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.’” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh.
7 Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” 8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. And he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God. But which ones are to go?” 9 Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.” 10 But he said to them, “The Lord be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. 11 No! Go, the men among you, and serve the Lord, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Look at verses 1-2 again. Besides freeing the Israelites, what were God’s reasons for sending the plagues upon Egypt?
- Whose words were being spoken in verses 3-6? What did God accuse Pharaoh of not doing?
- To whom did Pharaoh acquiesce in verse 8—God or his own servants? How might Pharaoh’s response have been different if he were truly responding to God instead of just trying to protect his dignity?
- In verse 9, Moses refused anything but full obedience to God. How did Pharaoh respond in verses 10-11? What does this reveal about Pharaoh’s motives?
- What does it reveal about our own motives when we try to convince ourselves that partial obedience is going to be enough?
RESPOND TO GOD
God asked Pharaoh, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” It is pride that causes us to refuse. It is pride that causes us to go half-way. It is pride that causes hearts to be hardened. God does not keep his feelings about this a secret. His Word says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). When we refuse to humble ourselves, we make God our opponent. That’s exactly what Pharaoh does in this story. And that’s exactly what we do, when we refuse to humble ourselves before God. We fight with God. We say my way is better. I am wiser. I can do this on my own. Our judgment gets clouded, and there are consequences.
- Ask the Lord to reveal any area of pride that you are holding on to and take it to the Cross, where pride was demolished.
- As you pray, remember that any right, or power, or image, or authority, or status we hold on to is of little importance compared to the God who loves you and gave himself up for you.