“Pharaoh said, ‘I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the desert, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.’ Moses answered, ‘As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only be sure that Pharaoh does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.’ And the Lord did what Moses asked: The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.” (Exodus 8:28-32 NIV84)
Yesterday, we addressed Pharaoh’s attempt to negotiate with God. He wanted to put conditions on God’s request that he let His people go to worship Him. We know that didn’t go well for Pharaoh. The Lord refused to negotiate, and another plague came Pharaoh’s way. And now Pharaoh and his people were experiencing flies, more flies than you can imagine. In our verses for today, Pharaoh asked Moses to pray for him and his people. His desire was that the Lord would cause the plague to end. It appears he genuinely sought mercy from the Lord. Moses warned him not to be deceptive, like he was after the last plague when he changed his mind. But deceptive he was! His request for mercy was not genuine and, once again, he hardened his heart and would not let the people go.
We know the end of the story. It is never good to lie to God. Pharaoh’s situation was only going to grow worse. There is a lesson here for all of us. God demands and expects honesty from us. Lies and deception are alien and enemies of God’s nature. Jesus, when describing Satan, says, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” On the other hand, Jesus says of himself, “I am the way, and the TRUTH, and the life.” Jesus tells Pilate, “You are right in saying that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
As believers, we are called to understand, believe, and live according to the truth. Let’s make sure that Satan, lies, and deception stay far from us, by staying close to Jesus and His word of truth.