Next to come upon the land of Egypt was the plague of locusts. Tens of thousands of locusts destroyed the remaining crops the hail had not ruined. But before bringing the locusts, God sent Moses to speak to Pharaoh once again and to warn him about what was coming. And when they heard what Moses had to say, Pharaoh’s servants appealed to their leader.
“And Pharaoh’s servants said to him, ‘How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not realize that Egypt is being destroyed?'” ~ Exodus 10:7
I would imagine this was a desperately dangerous thing to say to the leader of ancient Egypt!
Yet Pharaoh heeded their plea, and he called Moses and Aaron back before him “and he said to them, ‘Go, serve the LORD your God! Who are the ones that are going?’ And Moses said, ‘We shall go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.’ Then he said to them, ‘Thus may the LORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Take heed, for evil is in your mind. Not so! Go now, the men among you, and serve the LORD, for that is what you desire.’ So they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.” ~ Exodus 10:8-11
When Pharaoh heard that they would all be going, he grew angry. He accused them of trickery, and he offered them a compromise. Never compromise on the word of God!
God said He would free His people from Egypt and bring them to the land of Canaan, “‘to a land flowing with milk and honey'” ~ Exodus 3:17, yet Moses and Aaron were sent to ask only “‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me.'” ~ Exodus 10:3b. Was God deceiving Pharaoh?
Deception and lying are sin. The Bible tells us that there is no sin, no unrighteousness found in God. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21. He is a righteous, holy, and just God.
We are told that we are all sinners, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” ~ Romans 3:23, and Jesus said that “‘from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.'” ~ Mark 7:21-23
So, God cannot lie or deceive. He is the Truth. But man can lie and deceive. And until we study, understand, and get to know our God, it is hard for us to realize that He is not like men. Pharaoh did not trust God because he did not know God.
I don’t know why the demand made to Pharaoh was only to let His people go out of Egypt to serve Him. But if that is what God said they were going to do, then that is what God would have had them do. He would not lie or deceive. He did, however, see the big picture and have a greater plan, and He knew what would be coming. He knew Pharaoh’s heart. He knows our hearts. (see 1 Samuel 16:7)
In the end, after the tenth and most devastating of all the plagues, Pharaoh drove all of the Israelites out of Egypt, the young and old, the flocks and herds, and all of their possessions. God kept His promise to free His people from the oppression of Egypt and to bring them to the land of Canaan.
God always keeps His promises. He does not lie. 🙂