From Lynda Lindsey
Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” ...So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you must not go very far away.” Exodus 8:25; 28(a)
You (Pharaoh) are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go. Exodus 9:17
Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” Exodus 10:7
The Lord’s instructions were plain, there was no possibility for doubt or confusion. Pharaoh was to let God’s people go into the wilderness to serve God; God also made it clear to Moses that Pharaoh wouldn’t listen or comply. At first Pharaoh was undisturbed; after all his magicians were powerful in Egypt’s secret arts. But Pharaoh didn’t understand the all encompassing power of the Hebrew’s God, a God who speaks and it is so, a God to whom partial obedience counts as nothing. Pharaoh ruled over Egypt, but God rules over all the earth.
Pharaoh pridefully exalted himself as god. Determined to keep the Hebrews as slaves, Pharaoh set himself in opposition to God. Pharaoh, a powerful political figure, relied on himself, his wise men and sorcerers, magic, and secret arts to rule successfully. In time even Pharaoh’s advisors and servants understood that Egypt was ruined and cried out for Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Pharaoh demonstrated lack of understanding; he heard words spoken to him but lacked the ability to perceive the significance of what he heard.
To hear is not necessarily to understand. Because Pharaoh heard without perceiving the significance of what he heard, Egypt was brought to ruin. We, like Pharaoh, can hear but not understand. Pride. Idolatry. Power. Rejecting God’s terms while substituting ours. Rejecting faith; trusting works. Following the world’s vanities. These will all bring us to ruin. Do you not yet understand? Pharaoh left important spiritual matters of the heart go until it was too late. Don’t repeat Pharaoh’s mistake.