“How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me?” –God
To my knowledge, this question never made it onto one of those black-and-white billboards seemingly penned by God Himself. What if it had? What would you have thought or felt? Anger from being offended? Ignorance, convinced it must be for someone else? Would the shock from God asking such a question have resulted in you crashing your car? Or would your mind have been spinning from thinking of all the ways you’ve not humbled yourself?
Though not on a roadside billboard, this penetrating question was asked by God and directed at Pharaoh (Ex. 10). By this point, Pharaoh and the Egyptians had experienced seven of the 10 plagues—bloody waters; swarms of frogs; gnats all over humans and animals; swarms of flies; pestilence affecting all livestock; boils on people and animals; and deadly hail and fire. He would not let the Israelites go. It would take three more—locusts, complete darkness, and death of all their firstborns—before he would relent. How long did he refuse to humble himself before God? Long enough! But time is irrelevant here. What stands out, instead, are the effects of pride and the link God makes with humility.
There are multiple effects of pride that could be mentioned, but focus on one of them—the plagues affected all of Egypt, not just the one to whom the question was directed. There is obvious application here. In our refusal to humble ourselves, others are impacted to some extent. Frogs may not fill their house (let’s hope not!), but they may not get to experience Jesus today. Your neighbor’s faucet may not start dispensing blood (can plumbers fix that?), but your ability to speak into their life may be hindered. This is enough to think about, but consider the alternative, as well.
To do so, look at what God says next: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.” This is significant! Pharaoh’s pride not only brought destruction on his own people, but also prevented the Israelites from doing what God created them to do—live in freedom and to serve Him. Would Pharaoh’s humility have had that much power? Would his act of humbling himself have actually allowed the Hebrews to live out the life for which God created them? It seems so.
And us—does our humility have such power, as well? Will our willingness and act of humbling ourselves allow others to live out the life for which God created them? Is God so bold as to link our humility with their potential? Why wouldn’t He? Didn’t He show us the same thing again with the life and death of Jesus?
His humility. Our freedom.
His humility. Our ability to serve Him.
His humility. Our abundant life.
His humility. Our potential.
We may not see such a poignant question on a billboard, but the question is still asked today and our choice, one way or another, will impact our relationships. Watch out for the locusts!