Let's Make A Deal

I have a friend who admitted to cheating on her husband. But rather than repent and come clean right away, she grudgingly gave up ground only when it was required. She initially hoped that offering to attend counseling would appease her husband. When that didn't work, she eventually agreed to quit her job where she had the affair. Then she floated a vague apology that skirted the numerous ways she had destroyed her family. Her strategy was sad and silly, sad because she had not owned her sin, and silly because she supposed that she could bargain her way out.

Pharaoh tried the same approach. He initially refused to let Israel leave Egypt to worship the Lord, but after the plagues of blood, frogs, gnats, and flies, he pretended to give up. " ‘All right! Go ahead and offer sacrifices to your God,' he said, ‘But do it here in this land.' " When Moses protested that God had demanded that Israel leave Egypt, Pharaoh bartered, "All right, go ahead. . . . but don't go too far away" (Exodus 8:25,28).

Pharaoh soon changed his mind and refused to let Israel go, but the ensuing plagues of boils, hail, and locusts brought him back to the bargaining table. This time he said that Israel could depart, but only the men. They were to leave the women and children behind as collateral for their return (Exodus 10:10-11). Pharaoh never did give in completely, for even after he allowed Israel to leave, he chased them all the way to the banks of the Red Sea. There, the Lord finally drowned Pharaoh's army, taking by force what Pharaoh refused to give willingly.

Have you sinned against another person? Don't drag your feet or use whatever leverage you have to avoid making a full confession. And don't even try to bargain with God. As Pharaoh learned too late, God doesn't deal. , Mike Wittmer

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