As we read through Exodus, I am struck at how similar I am, and I think we all can be, to the Israelites. We grumble and complain. We want things to go the way we want them when we want them. And when the going gets tough, we forget that our God has proven Himself to fulfill His promises, and that He promises that we will have tribulation. While I don’t want to be that way, and while I want to continue to grow, I have come to find a sort of kindred spirit in the Israelites. Struggles are always just a little bit easier when you find someone who is walking the same road, right?
This morning I was reading about the ten plagues. I was reading Pharaoh’s responses to God. He tried to compromise! At first glance, we can look and scoff and ridicule. But, if you dig in just a little bit, these compromises seem very familiar.
Compromise #1: Make your sacrifices here in Egypt. How often do we try to compromise? God, I will sacrifice, but only right here, in my way, on my turf, and on my terms.
Compromise #2: My magicians can do that, too! How often do we try to do things ourselves as a compromise? God’s work is still being done, but we’re doing it. That avoids any unpleasantries or uncomfortableness.
Compromise #3: You may go, but only the men. The women, children, and livestock must stay here. Or, in our words, “Okay God. I’ll do what you want me to do. But my heart isn’t in it.”
Compromise #4: Okay! The women and children can go, but the livestock must stay! But how were they to sacrifice when they were to leave the very thing that was to be sacrificed behind?
It’s one thing to look at the Israelites and see similarities in how they act with my own life. The solace there is that at the end of the story, they were still called God’s own. It scares me to compare myself to Pharaoh, though, because at the end of the story, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Wow!