“Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, ‘Go, worship the LORD. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.” —Exodus 10:24
After the plague of locusts, Pharaoh tried to bargain with God, allowing only the men to go into the desert to worship. One plague later, after three days of darkness, Pharaoh agreed to allow the women and children to go as well, but not their flocks and herds which they needed for worship. Pharaoh had reached a point of partially conceding and even admitting to sinning against God, but there was no repentance or real change in his heart.
Pharaoh’s response to God was merely a compromise to get himself and Egypt out of the turmoil and devastation they were in. Very often the requests God receives from people are not to align themselves with God, but merely for God to get them out of a fix. “If You’ll only do this for me, God, I promise…” We negotiate, bargain and compromise, but God will not negotiate or compromise. Though He understands it is often our fears and sorrows that drive us to Him, He is not concerned with our situations
alone. What concerns Him is our lives as a whole.
There are those who claim the tragic events of 9/11 brought about a spiritual revival. The immediate aftermath was, of course, great fear, grief and sorrow. People flocked to churches, with attendance rising in the United States from 41 to 47 percent. But by early November, church attendance dropped back to 42 percent and sunk further still after two months.
On May 26, 1940, nine months into World War II, King George VI called for a National Day of Prayer. Entire churches the length and breadth of Britain were packed. The nation’s back was against the wall, but when the war was over, church attendance fell rapidly into steep decline—to just 2 to 3 percent of the population! These are not spiritual revivals, but fear and sorrow.
The Bible distinguishes between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. In 2 Corinthians 7:10, Paul says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Worldly sorrow is sorrow for one’s self, caught in a situation where our backs are against the wall and we do not know what to do. But godly sorrow brings a change of mind and heart where we acknowledge our sin and recognize our need for God, and is expressed in our willingness to submit to Him. Worldly sorrow is wonderful when it leads to godly sorrow, because in godly sorrow we can be sure God Himself will step into the depth of our pain and despair.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in times of crisis, grant me the discipline to remain dependent on You and obedient to You. You are sufficient, Lord, and I trust You in every situation. Thank You.