The Lord’s Purpose Will Prevail
Written October 17, 2020
It’s Bible times, and God is testing Pharaoh. Pay close attention to the details. With a gnat infestation in Egypt, imagine breathing them in and blinking them out. Flies are buzzing in your ears. Boils are festering. Frogs are squishing between your toes and landing in your food. Hail has likely obliterated your livelihood. The stench of bloody water and rotting flesh makes your stomach lurch, and the heat from the afternoon sun intensifies the smell of death. Get the picture?
Then, imagine this: the problems disappear. Life returns to normal. All it takes is the breadth of a single heartbeat, and Pharaoh’s promises return to narcissistic control. No remorse for the role he played. No plans for making life better for those in his care. No lessons learned. Nada. Life goes back to serving Pharaoh’s agenda. And you feel stuck.
Because Pharaoh experienced first hand the horrendous nature of all the plaques in his land, I have to wonder: did he have instant onset amnesia, like a mother after just giving birth? Did he say to himself, “It wasn’t THAT bad. I could go through that again”? It’s hard to believe this is the mindset of Pharaoh at this point, right? But, true to form, even abusers and dictators have vulnerabilities.
So, the Lord tells Moses to approach Pharaoh one last time and tell him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again.’” Exodus 11:4-6 NLT
Knowing everything Egypt has just gone through, Pharaoh still says no! Being in Moses’ shoes, I would’ve thought (even if I didn’t say it aloud), “Are you crazy? Have you lost your mind? I’ve already shown you NINE TIMES that you are touchable. Horrible things CAN happen to you. Where is your common sense, Man? Don’t you care about your country or your people?” But, Pharaoh digs in his heels and refuses to budge.
That’s why God brings on His final act: the death of all first-born sons. God knew Pharaoh would get so angry over the loss of his firstborn child he would demand the Israelites get far, far away from him. Pharaoh’s choice. No one controlling Pharaoh’s actions. All of this Pharaoh’s decision. God gave Pharaoh TEN CHANCES to do the right thing; yet, even when God caused Pharaoh’s son to die, Pharaoh still didn’t release the Israelites out of the goodness of his heart. Nope. Pharaoh actually ordered them away from him so they wouldn’t keep disrupting his cushy, carefree life. Anguish plagued Pharaoh in the Israelites’ presence, so they had to leave. “Be gone!” Total selfishness. Isn’t it amazing, though, to see how God allowed individual choice?
Interesting twist to this story: if you notice, Pharaoh goes chasing after the Israelites when he realizes he’s lost control of the situation. Even though they caused him great pain, and his relationship with them is nothing less than utter dysfunction, he needed someone to push around; so, he thundered after them to regain his command. What a sad, sad ending! “…The Egyptians tried to escape, but the Lord swept them into the sea. Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers—the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived.” Exodus 14:27-28 NLT
No matter where you find yourself in life, know God has not abandoned you. You are not alone. Even if you have a modern-day hard-hearted Pharaoh thwarting your plans or blocking the outcome you desire, remember this: God is still on the throne. His purpose WILL triumph. Proverbs 19:21 NLT, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”