Pharaoh has a pride problem. You can almost hear the fatigue when God (through Moses) asks, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?”
As a public school teacher, I see so much time and money spent trying to convince kids to have self-esteem…to feel empowered, simply because they show up: Shine bright, everyone’s a star. What matters most is how you see yourself. But when this message is given, apart from God’s Truth, it is such a lie.
Of course every child – every human being – is valuable and should feel confident, but not just for showing up and not because we are stars. We have value because we are deeply loved by the Creator of the universe; made with a purpose. And we have authentic esteem when we use our God-given talents and abilities to accomplish meaningful things.
True self-esteem isn’t achieved by seeing ourselves as great, but by seeing ourselves as Christ sees us. And we only shine bright when we humble ourselves and allow Christ to shine through us. It’s an oxymoron, really. As we humble ourselves, he lifts us up.
hu·mil·i·ty(h)yo͞oˈmilədē/nouna modest or low view of one’s own importance
A modest or low view of one’s OWN importance. This is Pharaoh’s problem. He sees himself as the star. His agenda, his Egyptian gods, his reputation, and his position are far more important to him than submitting to God. Egypt is crumbling around him and still he clings to his own importance – his own ability (as inadequate as it is) to control the situation. And so God brings darkness; darkness that can be felt. Darkness that defies Egyptian candles and oil lamps. Darkness that is only pierced by God himself.
God, you are Lord and I am not. May I always be humble before you. May I never find my identity in reputation or position, or my confidence in my own ability to control things. You are the maker of my heart. As I humble myself, may you be the author of my words and the architect of my accomplishments. Thank you, Jesus, for using this “dance” of Moses and Pharaoh to show me the dangers of pride…and the value of humility.