Read Exodus 10
Focus on verse 7b
Our culture encourages us to climb the ladder of success. The higher we climb the more successful we appear, but there are not only pitfalls along the way, there is a clear and present danger at the top. I have been told that power is intoxicating – I say “I have been told”, because I have not ever felt that I have really ever been in any position of significant power. I believe this is in part because my personality is not driven in that direction, and perhaps in part because I have never really had the desire to pay the price of getting there, and I would like to think that it is also because I recognized the danger and took steps to avoid it.
In today’s reading Pharaoh’s servants are beginning to see that the land of Egypt is being systematically destroyed by the pride of Pharaoh.
Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” (v. 7)
It would have been a big loss to the Egyptians to lose their entire labor force had they let Israel go when Moses asked the first time… At this point they have already lost much more, and by the time Israel is safely on the other side of the Red Sea, Egypt will have been plundered. Their crops and livestock have been destroyed, much of their gold and silver is gone with Israel, and at the crossing of the Red Sea Egypt loses the main force of her army. A land now plundered, without Israel lifting anything other than Moses staff against it.
This is not the only time that the pride of a leader has destroyed an organization, or even a nation. In fact human history is littered with records that would seem to indicate that this tends to be a fairly common occurrence simply proving that the statement “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is an accurate saying.
Wise leaders have understood and respected this and put in place systems of accountability for themselves so that it is at least difficult if not impossible for the leader find him or herself in positions of absolute authority.
Perhaps one of the strongest lessons in this piece of history is that everyone is under authority in some fashion. If not under another human being, under God, and those situations where we refuse to honor God’s authority typically finds us learning humility the hard way. “Pride comes before a fall” the writer of proverbs claims… and a more contemporary proverb that may also apply… “the higher they climb the harder they fall”, so be careful as you climb that ladder to the top. God needs good strong leaders in His kingdom, but He will ultimately humble those who do not humble themselves.