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A Painful Plea

A Painful Plea

Exodus 10:16-18

Then Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. Now therefore, forgive my sin, please, only this once, and plead with the LORD your God only to remove this death from me.” So he went out from Pharaoh and pleaded with the LORD.

Moses adds little word clues in the narrative that reveal the momentum shift taking place in Pharaoh’s heart, or perhaps the psychological breakdown going on in his head, and while we know the end of the story, while we see through Pharaoh’s sackcloth-and-ash dramatics, we shouldn’t miss the profound and sacrificial mediatorial ministry that Moses and Aaron have entered into. Moses knows deep down that Pharaoh has a heart of stone (at least he knows by the time he writes this account). So I’m amazed that he doesn’t go to God after verse 17, roll his eyes, and exclaim with a mocking laugh, “Well, Lord, he’s done it again! He really put on a show this time! Can You just end this charade here and now, please? I’m tired of having to sit through it!” Instead, it’s as if he feels something new in Pharaoh’s apology, hears the tremor in Pharaoh’s vocal cords and the desperation in his pleas, and goes back to God as if for the first time to urgently plead for Pharaoh’s soul. And I can’t help but wonder if the memory of God being so patient with him during his own charade of excuses back at Hebron, and the thought that he too was once a hardened prince of Egypt, meant that his pleas for Pharaoh were genuine and heartfelt, and he wasn’t just going through mediatorial motions.

Friend, I’m sure there are people in your life who are just like Pharaoh. Maybe their constant changes in demeanor and calls of desperation have dampened your belief that they’ll never come around. But take it from Moses, who, at this point in his life of faith, is a shepherd after his Savior’s heart. Keep praying! Keep pleading for those souls lost in darkness! Because, today, as far as you know, their story isn’t finished yet.