Almost everyone on the planet has heard about Pharaoh, either through Egyptian Mysticism, or the popular “The Ten Commandments” movie, or the Bible. Many often comment, “Wow, those Pharaohs lived long!” But the term ‘Pharaoh’ was the title given to Egyptian kings in ancient times. Hence the Pharaoh that lived in the time of Joseph was not the same as the one that lived in the time of Moses.
Having said that, it occurred to me that, whilst the title ‘Pharaoh’ might be virtually extinct, the spirit of a Pharaoh might be kept alive through the belief and practice of their ideology and values. Pharaohs have been dead and buried long ago but the philosophy of Pharaoh is still very much alive, operating in the lives of many Christians and non-Christians today!
Following the numerous encounters between Pharaoh and Moses in which GOD displayed His awesome power, Pharaoh began to reluctantly concede to the Israelites departure to worship GOD. But, he made four crucial concessions in Exodus 8 & 10. These statements were in response to Moses’ continual requests for him to release the Israelites and their possessions, to worship GOD.
The key phrases extracted from his responses to Moses are:
1. “Sacrifice here” – Exodus 8:25
2. “Don’t go too far” – Exodus 8:28
3. “Only the men can go” – Exodus 10:10
4. “Everyone except your cattle can go” – Exodus 10:24
In this article, I want to unpack how these same paradigms are being used to manipulate men to abandon their relationship with GOD in the pursuit of a ‘Pharaoh’s philosophy’.
So, let’s take a look at the concessions one by one.
1. “Sacrifice here”
In other words, you don’t really need to go to the wilderness to worship GOD! You don’t need a special place of worship! However, the types of sacrifice the Israelites offered was an abomination to the Egyptians so, to suggest that they practice their faith under Pharaoh’s nose was nonsense! Offering such sacrifice would invariably put their lives at risk!
The application of this statement to today’s man are:
- You don’t need to go to church to worship GOD.
- You don’t need a special time with GOD.
- Just stay at work and worship GOD in your heart… that’s all that matters.
How sad it is to see men completely give themselves to the workplace. Some are shameless at working seven days a week and boldly declare “I would like to come to church but I really don’t have the time“, or the one who is firmly in the grip of Pharaoh’s philosophy declaring “I don’t have to come to Church to Worship GOD“! The fact is that church is the way GOD has chosen to prepare His people for eternity and we are warned “not to forsake meeting together as many are in the habit
of doing” (Hebrews 10).
If you feel this way, i.e “having no time for GOD”, you need to reconsider, and respond to that situation the way Moses responded to Pharaoh when he made the same suggestion, “that would not be right… We must take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to The Lord our GOD, as He commands us.” To us, this should mean “I cannot and will not do that… I am not prepared to sacrifice my devotion to GOD for your system. If I follow the same system, it will inevitably destroy my life!”
2. “Don’t go too far”
This instruction was given in Exodus 8:28, after Moses refused the first suggestion. To the Israelites, that meant a three-day journey was way too much. “I need you to go where I can reach you when I feel like it”, was Pharoah’s intent. “You don’t need to go that far.”
The application of these words to today’s man and Christian are:
- Go and worship, but don’t be a “Christian fanatic”.
- Go to church, but don’t get too involved, as we may need you back at work.
- Go and worship, but limit your involvement and zeal. No need for passionate and loud worship. Reserve that for the sporting entertainment.
Sadly, this is the way many of the men in church are today. They lack the passion and zeal for GOD, and Jesus described such Christians as “lukewarm” (Revelation 3). It is interesting how men are encouraged to be passionate on the sports ground, to give it all at parties, to strive for excellence at work but, “Don’t go too far with GOD”.
Surely, it’s not wrong to be passionate and striving for excellence in all areas of life. This is indeed the character of GOD, but why are men told to control their emotions when it comes to their faith? Who would listen to testimonies that don’t even arouse the one who is saying it?
The enemy of our soul has a plan! The same man who can hardly lift up his hands in worship, can scream at the top of his voice and run up and down the track if his favourite team scores a goal. Pharaoh may be dead, but his philosophy is very much alive.
It is time to respond like Moses. Do you know how Moses responded? He said absolutely nothing. He practically ignored that suggestion because it did not deserve an answer. Proverbs 26:4-5 (NIV) tells us how we must not respond to fools: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you also will be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes“. We must ignore such foolish, limiting suggestions and serve GOD with our passion and zeal because the philosophy of Pharaoh must remain dead and buried!
3. “Only the men can go”
The third suggestion Pharaoh proposed to Moses in an attempt to appease the removal of the plague. To the Israelites that meant, “You can go, but I don’t want you to have complete freedom from me. I want your wives, children and what you own to remain in my possession, lest you consider not returning.“
The application of these words to today’s man and Christian:
- You are free but, only you.
- You can serve GOD, but I want all that you love to be withheld from you.
- I don’t want you and your household to be fully committed.
Let’s look at two scenarios:
- Physically: Pharaoh’s philosophy allows you to go physically but binds you emotionally. This can be engineered through promises of promotion, position and other related packages.
- Spiritually: In this realm, Pharaoh acts like a demon who is seeking to use your family against you – particularly your wife. He is still targeting women the way he targeted Eve against all that Adam stood for. After all, the enemy knew he could never persuade Adam directly but he could indirectly through Eve. One of the strategies the enemy uses are those closest to us; our spouse, siblings and children to ruin our testimonies. Wives in particular need to be wise especially if their husbands are fervent for the LORD. Don’t let the enemy use you.
Remember that you have been transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of the Son He loves in whom you have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.
4. “Everyone except your cattle can go”
To the Israelites that meant – “You all can go but, everything that you have toiled for over the past 430 years must stay here. If you decide to go, we can use your resources to attract new labour to maintain the economic system of Egypt.“
The application of these words to today’s man and Christian:
- Go and worship but leave your money out of it.
- When you worship, GOD doesn’t need you to give.
In the financial realm the Pharaoh philosophy acts like a demon. He has successfully polluted the minds of many Christian men so that only 20% of the church give regularly (George Barna, Barna Group Research). The amazing fact is that many other religious organisations can generate money more easily for their cause than most Christian organisations. This is because of the amount of negative influence the devil has on the finances of Christians – however, he will never succeed because GOD will multiply the gifts of the faithful.
Unaware to the impact, influence and source of this philosophy, many Christian men who are high earners declare:
- I don’t believe in tithing or giving.
- I don’t want to give because the pastors will spend the money.
- God should support His own church.
Through the use of the media, Satan still uses the Pharaoh philosophy to push poverty as a ‘Christian virtue’ and grossly exaggerate the use of finance. That said, do not ignore the Pharaoh philosophy of wanting to keep what is yours. To show the importance of finance for the Kingdom, GOD ensured that the Egyptians gave all their best to Israel on the night they boldly marched out of Egypt.
Let me conclude by saying:
The reason why Pharaoh began negotiating with Moses was because he realised that his grip had weakened and he was only playing for time. We are in a better position than the children of Israel were. Therefore, we need to renew our minds to all that JESUS has achieved for us. We must apply faith and boldly declare who we are in CHRIST.
There’s no need for compromise, let us stop all negotiations and concessions and like the children of Israel, let us boldly walk out of Egypt mentally. Let Pharaoh remain dead, don’t bring his philosophies back into your life.