Part 3: A Pharaoh in the Church

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Pharaoh identified with only one way to expand his kingdom: brick-by-brick.
Pharaoh identified with only one way to expand his kingdom: brick-by-brick. (Flickr )

So, instead of receiving judgment for prematurely leaving Egypt and rebelling against Pharaoh, God protected them from the judgment that hit the rest of the nation. A miracle occurred.

Leaders, please understand how devastating this entire process can be. If we refuse, as Pharaoh did, to release people from their brick-making duties, the pressure will increase.

But even more tragic, those who are craving to move into God's presence will not have that opportunity without enduring quite an ordeal. Or, if we cause people to abdicate their responsibilities of staying through the process of transition to leave for another church, the results can be devastating for all parties involved—sometimes for years or decades.

OK, let's really dig in and look at the process that was necessary, since God was honoring his established authority, Pharaoh.

"Then the LORD spoke to Moses, 'Say to Aaron, 'Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their canals, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, so that they may become blood. And there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.' " Moses and Aaron did so, just as the Lord commanded. And he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants, and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river. Blood was everywhere throughout the land of Egypt" (Ex. 7:19-21).

So, the pressuring continues. However, while Pharaoh was certainly impacted, he was not yet ready to relent—not even close.

"Nevertheless, the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts, and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said. Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not concern himself with this either" (Ex. 7:22-23).

His concern was clearly not for any of the people of Egypt. All he cared about was the advancement of the great Egypt building project.

"So all the Egyptians dug all around the river for water to drink, because they could not drink the water of the river" (Ex.7:24).

Pharaoh returned to the safety and comfort of his house while the people under his charge went without water. Many in the church today might complain (which is a sin) about a leader that doesn't nourish the body. While their analysis may be correct, their gossip and complaining is very incorrect. As leaders, we have to know that a malnourished people will become desperate. They will seek refreshing and water, and it's our job to lead them to it. Of course, Pharaoh couldn't care less.

"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord: Let My people go, so that they may serve Me. But if you refuse to let them go, then I will plague all your borders with frogs''" (Ex. 8:1-2).

Again, God's cry is for his people to be free so they can be with him. So, pressure again increases.

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