Compromising With God (Part 2)

When I read the account of Pharaoh in Moses' day resisting the commands of God, I see an attitude that is all too typical of our reactions to His will at times. Here are the facts:

As God began to show His power with signs through Moses, Pharaoh began to seek compromises. Let's consider Pharaoh's proposals to compromise and also look at modern efforts to do the same.

1. Pharaoh's reactions to God's instructions are typical of man today.
God was specific in what He asked Pharaoh to do (through Moses and Aaron) - "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days' journey into the desert and sacrifice to the LORD our God" (Exo. 5:3). Today God is still specific in His expectations:

In Pharaoh's case, his spirit of rebellion is seen - "Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go" (Exo. 5:2). Many rebel against the Lord in our day. They reply similarly to Pharaoh though making use of different words: "No way am I going to pattern my life after a 2000-year-old book! I don't see any reason in it! I don't think it is necessary! I've got my mind made up, and this is right for me even if the Bible says otherwise." Essentially, are they not saying: "I'm not going to give up or give in or settle!"?

Pharaoh also clearly manifested a vindictive or vengeful attitude - "You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.' Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words" (Exo. 5:7-9). Many today have a vindictive attitude toward Christianity. They want to punish believers when they speak against social norms (e.g., regarding homosexuality, tolerance, etc.). They view the Bible as a book of false words and believers as ignorant fools.

When God brought plagues upon Egypt, Pharaoh suggested compromise, but he habitually went back on his word after a plague passed. Consider the evidence:

The spirit of compromise seems to be a rebellion prompted by the determination to stay in control. There is still a desire to do as we want as long as possible. Pharaoh and his country were eventually broken (after ten plagues), though it was needless. He relented and let them go (cf. Exo. 12:29ff), but he would have been wise to submit to God's will from the beginning! Even then he later changed his mind (short-lived remorse) and decided to pursue Israel (cf. Exo. 14:5-7). What about us? How many today (even self-proclaimed disciples) refuse to obey Jesus' words in Matthew 16:24,25 - "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it"? It is difficult to turn loose of self and submit to another. Many humans will not yield to another until there is a realization of their own complete helplessness. And that is a critical point we need to reflect upon some more.

We will conclude this study in our next lesson.