“The Lord set a time and said, ‘Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.’ And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. Pharaoh sent men to investigate and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.” (Exodus 9:5-7 NIV84)
When I was a young Christian, I remember thinking how stupid Pharaoh was in continuously hardening his heart to what was growing ever more obvious. With each of the plagues, God was making it clearer and clearer that things were going to get worse for Pharaoh and his people if he didn’t let the Israelites go. Pharaoh had just experienced the death of all the livestock belonging to the Egyptians. He even sent men to investigate what had occurred, and they reported that the Hebrew people didn’t experience the plague as the Egyptians had. With all of that evidence, Moses recorded in verse 7 that “his heart was unyielding.” How stupid could Pharaoh be?!
Like I said, that was my view as a young Christian. But at the age of 55, I sense the startling reality that, at times, there are more similarities between Pharaoh and me than I would like to admit. Even as a Christian, I have been known to stubbornly dig my heels in against what seems to be compelling evidence to do otherwise. I have to confess that there have been times that I wanted my will to be done so badly that I was willing to act against what I knew to be the Lord’s will. With repentant hearts, we should all find our way to the cross and confess our similarities with Pharaoh. When provided the opportunity to look and see that reality is exactly what God said it would be, we need to surrender our will to His. God has never, and will never, lose a battle of wills. Like Jesus, our prayer should be, “Not My will, but Thine be done!”
May our hearts be soft enough to yield to God’s purpose and will for our lives.