“Pharaoh responded, “I will let you go and sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but don’t go very far. Make an appeal for me.” Exodus 8:28 (HCSB)
The plagues were disciplinary chastisements of God. Instead of annihilating the tyrant with one stroke, God, in His divine forbearance, inflicted ten successive plagues to break his pride. Important to note is how the plagues God inflicted were direct judgments against the “gods” of Egypt.
Notice how different the ways of God are from the ways of man. Human warriors attack by surprise. They don’t space out their blows, and when they have the enemy beneath their feet, they make an end of him. But God warned Pharaoh ten times, and the Lord gave Pharaoh the opportunity to repent each time. Before punishing Pharaoh, God offered him mercy each time.
There is grace and merciful forgiveness for all who repent, but there is unsparing punishment for those who, hardening their hearts to the voice of God, continue in their stubborn ways.
So, what is true repentance?
Repentance is more than lip service. It is more than saying a prayer, walking an aisle, donating money, or some good “work.” True repentance is complete surrender. It is the total giving-over of your life to the Lord. Anything less falls short of what the Lord requires.
In today’s passage, Pharaoh seems to have repented. But Pharaoh is not repenting. He is negotiating.
For a moment, think of Egypt as symbolic of “the World.” “Pharaoh” may represent a personal demonic influence that is holding you captive, threatening you against trusting the Lord. Imagine yourself being so valuable that two warring kingdoms would fight to the death to obtain you. One wants to exploit you, while the other wants to lavish its love upon you. One is Egypt, and the other is the Lord.
Now, imagine yourself hearing the truth of the gospel, about Jesus’ offering of grace, mercy, and forgiveness for all who would repent. Then imagine a growing desire in your heart to obey God’s voice...to trust Jesus.
The enemy senses you are about to be won by the Lord, so it offers a compromise: follow God, but not completely. “Nobody wants to be seen as a fanatic!” the enemy laughs.
Don’t buy the lie. Anything less than complete surrender is not true repentance. Have you completely surrendered your life to Jesus, or are you still in negotiations? I implore you to surrender TODAY! Don’t spend another night in Egypt.
Elevating your Faith with daily Bible reading and devotionals written by Steve Wiggins.
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