Exodus 10:24-29 (NKJV) 24 Then Pharaoh called to Moses and said, “Go, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you.” 25 But Moses said, “You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. 26 Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the LORD our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there.” 27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. 28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!” 29 And Moses said, “You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.”
It is not a good idea to bargain with God. We might not think that we would do something like that but we do it all the time. We try to get the Lord to agree with what we want. We try to compromise standards and practices. The result will always be something we do not want in our lives.
Satan is always trying to get us to bargain with God. He will list all the alternatives to God’s way and make them look very appealing. He has been following the same pattern since the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:2-5 (NKJV) 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan’s tactics have not changed. He is still taking what God gave to us as blessing and protection and trying to make it sound like God is withholding some good thing from us. God is motivated by our highest good and nothing else. When he tells us what we should not or must not do something or we cannot have something, it is to protect us. The devil is motivated by hate, rebellion and the desire to destroy God’s family. His bargains are always bad!
One of the most familiar stories of someone who refused to bargain is the story of Moses in his encounter with Pharaoh. The children of Israel had been in Egypt for more than 400 years. At first, they were honored guests of Joseph one of Jacob’s sons. Through many trials and much wisdom, Joseph rose to become the second in command of the whole nation. He saved his family from destruction in a great famine.
As time went on Joseph died as did the Pharaohs who knew him. Finally, a Pharaoh came into power who saw the prosperity of the Israelites as a threat. He enslaved the people of God and treated them harshly. For generations slavery was all Israel knew. However, the time came when all that was going to change.
Most of us know the story of Moses. He was saved from Pharaoh’s decree that all the first-born sons of the Israelites had to be killed at birth. His mother put him into a boat made of reeds and floated him down the Nile River. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and raised him in Pharaoh’s house.
For the first 40 years of his life, he was educated in the ways of Egypt. He served the Pharaoh and was viewed as a prince of Egypt. We do not know how but he eventually discovered his heritage. He went out to see the bondage of his kinsmen and determined to help them.
His first attempts were using the methods he had learned under Pharaoh. He saw an Egyptian abusing an Israelite and killed him. The next day he saw two Hebrews arguing and tried to intervene. Violence and ruling were the things he had learned from the Egyptians. However, one of the Hebrews had seen him kill the Egyptian. He threatened to expose Moses. Moses knew that if Pharaoh found out he had taken the side of the Hebrews and killed an Egyptian, he would be put to death. He had no choice but to flee Egypt.
Sometimes we bargain with God by thinking we can do things our own way thinking we can fulfill his purpose. We cannot. Nevertheless, God has a way of getting us where we need to be. Moses made some severe mistakes by trying to “deliver” Israel by the abilities he had gained as a son of Egypt. God needed to teach him how to be a child of Israel and a partaker of the Covenant of Abraham. That is where he would find the strength and wisdom to free his people from slavery in Egypt.
Moses spent 40 years in the desert learning that he could not depend on his own abilities. He learned to be a shepherd taking care of someone else’s sheep. He learned that he could only do so much and that he was dependent on the Lord for water, grass to feed the sheep and direction to know where to take them. By the end of his season in the wilderness, Moses is no longer the self-sufficient ruler of Egypt but a simple shepherd.
One thing that Moses still must learn is that he cannot bargain with God. In Exodus Chapter 3 God calls Moses from a supernatural bush. He reveals to Moses that he has chosen him to free the people of Israel. He gives him supernatural equipment and promises to be with him as he returns to Egypt.
Moses is afraid. I do not believe he was afraid that Pharaoh will kill him. I believe he is afraid that he will fail as he did before. He begins to bargain with God. He wants God to send someone else. He lays out his case as to why he is not the man. God refuses to bargain with Moses. Instead, he reveals his name to Moses and provides a helper in his brother Aaron.
Armed with miraculous power, divine direction and the help of his brother, God sends him back to Egypt. Along the way, something very strange happens.
Exodus 4:24-26 (NKJV) 24 And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the LORD met him and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” 26 So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”–because of the circumcision.
Why would God send an angel to kill Moses as he went to do what God told him to do? Moses was to be the covenant deliverer of Israel. His power would flow from the covenant. You cannot go in the power of the covenant if you do not fulfill the conditions of the covenant. One of those conditions was that all males had to be circumcised. This applied to Moses’ son.
As Moses heads to Egypt, he knows that to bargain with God is impossible. To try to do God’s will but not do it God’s way can mean death. This is a lesson that is going to serve him well as he returns to Pharaoh’s court. It is the lesson that will enable him to not only free Israel from slavery but also take them out in a way that will eventually cause them to be the great nation God intended them to be all along.
Tomorrow we will see that it is a lesson Pharaoh will soon learn as well. Today, take a look at your life. Have you been bargaining with God? Have you tried to do his will your own way? Have you tried to convince God why you cannot do what he wants you to do? Have you tried to compromise his principles? I encourage you to learn Moses’ lesson. Tell the Lord, “Here I am Lord. I will go where you want me to and do what you want me to. I am done trying to make bargains. Give me your will and your way!”
If you do that, you will find that life goes much better and success and victory will always follow.