October 13

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.’ But Moses said, ‘You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind.’ Exodus 10:24-26

Pharaoh was a clever negotiator, and he knew the art of compromise. He had probably prospered in his dealings with other politicians and ambassadors. But when he met with Moses, he met a man who had no mandate to negotiate. Pharaoh here represents not merely the devil, but the trickish human heart. Human beings squirm and seek to make things fit together by getting each party to give up a little ground. But God is no negotiator. We quickly discover that He will not even enter into window-dressing to compete with the attractions that the world offers. God states things as they are and leaves us to realise that His word and His position is unchangeable and non-negotiable. God expects total surrender to Him, and will not settle for anything less. Pharaoh even admitted he was a sinner – Exodus 9:7 – but it was all part of his attempt to get his own way. Because of the absolute nature of things, God demonstrated that the only answer for sinful human beings is to take up their cross and embrace their own death. God is unrelenting in His presentation of the way of discipleship, because He is bringing us to be as full-hearted and absolute in our devotion to Him as He is to us. He gave everything to have us, and He expects us to do the same.