And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?
In this showdown with Moses, Pharaoh is the definition of stubbornness. He is the epitome of hardhearted pride and self-will. Time and time again God had demonstrated His absolute authority, power, and control. He had poured out plagues upon the land, the people, and their stuff, and then mercifully took them away. And yet after all that, Pharaoh was willing to sacrifice everything to try to get his way, to exert his power. In his pride and stubbornness, everything was crumbling around him. Soon there would be no country left for him to rule over. This continual devastation took a toll on every part of Egypt, and yet he would still refuse to give in.
But can’t we sometimes get to that place where we stubbornly refuse to give in or submit to God on something, even as the negative consequences come, even as it hurts those around us? Sometimes the longer we hold out, the harder it is to let go no matter what extreme things have to happen. We become almost blind to the results of our actions and choices. We won’t listen to anyone else. We forge ahead in our hardheartedness to our own destruction.
Sometimes we’re just afraid to admit when we’re wrong. Sometimes we really just want to get our own way, and we don’t want anyone to tell us what to do. Sometimes we’re afraid of looking foolish or losing respect from other people. But whatever the reason, the result is only more pain and more sorrow when we refuse to give in. And often those choices affect everyone around us, too, and can have far-reaching effects that we may not even see.
May we be willing to be humbled by God. Sometimes we have a hard time recognizing these areas of pride that develop. Sometimes we can’t see ourselves very objectively and don’t realize what we are doing and how we are harming those around us. But may we take a lesson from Pharaoh’s stubbornness and not let ourselves get to such an extreme place. May we be willing to be changed to conform to God’s will for us and not try to force the situation to get our own way. May we be more willing to wound our ego than to continue to hurt others because of our own pride.