Will We Follow Through When the Pressure’s Off?
God’s chosen people toil as slaves in Egypt. He tasks Moses with getting them out. So far things aren’t going so well. God has sent seven plagues to get the Pharaoh’s attention, without achieving the people’s release. Plague number eight is on its way: Locusts.
An army of locusts. They strip the foliage and fruit off everything in sight.
Panicked, Pharaoh summons Moses. He confesses his sin for having reneged on his last promise to let the people go. He begs for forgiveness and asks Moses to pray that God will take away the plague of locusts.
Moses prays. God answers. He whips up a wind that carries the locusts out to sea. Not one remains in Egypt. Problem solved for Pharaoh, at least for now.
Guess what happens next? With the threat of locusts over, and the pressure for relief gone, Pharaoh changes his mind—again. He refuses to let the Israelites leave.
It will take two more plagues, with the tenth being the deadliest of them all, before Pharaoh lets the people go. If only he had followed through on his promise to let them leave sooner, he would have avoided countless needless deaths—including that of his firstborn son.
What Promises Do We Make to God When We’re in a Jam?
It’s easy to criticize Pharaoh for making a promise during a crisis and going back on his word when life returns to normal. But we do the same thing. It’s human nature.
How many times, when in a moment of crisis, have we made a rash promise to God? It goes something like this, “Get me out of this mess, and I’ll never do it again.”
Or we pledge to do something that we should have been doing all along. Or we vow to stop doing something that we shouldn’t be doing anyway.
Then God hears our plea and often rescues us. But do we follow through on what we promise God? Not likely. Or if we do follow through, our pledge lasts only a short time, and we soon return to living life as we’ve always lived.
Making a bargain with God is never a good idea, because if we don’t follow through, we may find ourselves in an even worse situation. We may be better off to confess our shortcomings and ask for his grace and mercy.
Else we could end up like Pharaoh who paid a huge price for his broken promises.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.