Arrogance v. Stubbornness
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials change their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!“ Exodus 14: 5
Amazing isn’t it. The Pharaoh had lost his son, Egypt had witnessed plagues. Enough! “Let them go” said Pharaoh. But regardless of all the suffering brought upon him and his people the Pharaoh was angry that no one would be there to serve him. Is this not narcissism at its finest. Can you imagine his anger…I envision and toddler throwing a temper tantrum because he didn’t get his way. Pharaoh had issues with natural consequences would you not agree. What was his answer to soothing his wounds? Get angry and get even.
The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians – all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops – pursued the Israelites and overtook them as the camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon. Exdodus 14:8-9
I suppose when we read about God hardening someones heart that also means all reasoning has left them. Now why Pharaoh and his men could not figure out by this time that they were fighting a losing battle; I’m not quite sure. To say Pharaoh was blinded by pride is a slight understatement. I mean seriously…plagues of giant locusts, raining frogs, the death of the first born sons.
On the other hand…
God had instructed Moses to tell the Israelites to tun back and where to set up camp. He was very specific and even gave a detailed account as to what he was about to do in order to reveal his glory. So there they were, following Moses, receiving instructions from God through Moses…let’s not forget that the Israelites had witnessed all of God’s wrath on Pharaoh, I would imagine they were very aware of his reach.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt. ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Exodus 14: 10-12
Really? They said that? They would rather be under the hand of Pharaoh as a slave than to be free and follow God? Was it so comfortable in slavery that the cost of freedom was too great? Whine, whine, whine! I really don’t know anyone like that, do you?
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:12-14
Do you imagine by now that Moses is thinking why did I bother? Do you ever feel that way…why do I bother trying to be a witness when no one cares? They would rather wallow in their misery than to hear about a way to freedom.
So on one side you have the prideful Pharaoh whose heart is so hardened that all he sees is anger and revenge. Then on the other side you see the Israelites who are so comfortable as slaves they think freedom is too uncomfortable and not worth risking their lives for. Neither side seeing what was right before them. Even though the signs were all around them. I’m thinking a pillar of smoke and fire would clue me in there was a greater power at work here.
But that’s just it isn’t it? We are so enslaved by our sin and it blinds us to the fact the freedom is worth the cost of our false comfort. And how many times have you thought you were cheated out of something, someone had wronged you and all you could think of was getting even? Taking back what was rightfully yours? Well that plan didn’t work out so well for Pharaoh and I’m pretty sure it won’t work for us either.
And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. Exodus 14:31
Wow…it only took the parting of a massive body of water by a man and his stick to convince them to put their trust in the Lord.
Please know that my sarcasm is directed towards myself as I laugh at how many times God has shown himself in magnificent ways and I still question or doubt or I’m too comfortable to change my habits. How many times have I taken it upon myself to show someone I’m right or that they won’t have the last laugh at my expense? Do I really wish to stay enslaved to sin?
No…I really wish to run toward my Abba with my hands lifted high, surrender all unto Him and bask in His glory.
Will I be uncomfortable at times? Yes, but God will comfort me.
Will I feel the urge to get even? Yes, but God will fight for me.
Will I ever be blinded by pride? Yes, but God will soften my heart and set me straight.
And He will be glorified!