The Ultimate Result of Pride


December 5(?), 1999 ~ Pickering Standard Church


Pride - Unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem (personified as one of the deadly sins)


Exodus 14:15-31 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.  Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.  I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.  The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen."  Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.  Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.  The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh's horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea.  During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion.  He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, "Let's get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt."  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen."  Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea.  The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen-- the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.  But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.  That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore.  And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

Pharaoh displayed a great amount of personal pride throughout his interaction with Moses, refusing to allow the Israelites to leave in spite of the miracles/plagues that God poured out upon the Egyptians.  Nine times events that were clearly supernatural in design and magnitude came upon the country and nine times Pharaoh refused to let the people go.  Even after the Angel of the Lord killed the firstborn in every household he changed his mind and pursued them in order to force them to return:

Exodus 14:5-9 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, "What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!"  So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him.  He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them.  The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.  The Egyptians-- all Pharaoh's horses and chariots, horsemen and troops-- pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.


Pharaoh acts this way in spite of the fact that he owes his very existence to God.  In telling Moses the words he is to use before Pharaoh God speaks in the following way:


Exodus 9:13-16 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth.  For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.  But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”


The emphasis being that God has not only given Pharaoh life but that He has preserved and protected Pharaoh and raised him up to his high position over Egypt “that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Pharaoh was determined to show his pride.  Look at the outstanding facts:

  1. His nation has just recently endured a catastrophic series of events which were of an obviously supernatural origin.  In the words of his officials Egypt was ruined (Exodus 10:7).
  2. Throughout these events the following phrase is repeatedly used to describe his attitude: But Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not listen (Exodus 8:19)
  3. In spite of the plagues God caused the Egyptians were favourably disposed toward the Israelites and held Moses himself in high regard (Exodus 11:3).
  4. As he and his cavalry pursued the Israelites they are hidden from him for an entire night by a pillar of fire and he found himself on dry ground in the middle of the Red Sea.
In all of this Pharaoh is consistent in his refusal to acknowledge God, trusting only in his own power and authority with the end result that he and all his army that pursued the Israelite host were destroyed while his former slaves stood safely on dry land and sang praises to God for their deliverance.

We sometimes stand back and wonder how a man such as Pharaoh, who had seen first hand the power of God as it was arrayed against him, could refuse to believe in this God.  But his behaviour is not significantly different than that of those who today read the story of the Exodus from Egypt and treat it as a myth or legend.  I have often believed that if I were able to amass sufficient proofs I would be able to convince others of the validity of the Bible.  But the Bible has itself been proven by artefacts recovered from the middle east as well as by information retrieved by archaeologists again and again, to the point that no court of law, evaluating the evidence alone, could have any reason to dismiss the Bible as a collection of myths and legends.

Glenn Miller, on his web site “A Christian Thinktank,” reports that there may actually be evidence for the parting of the Red Sea from a source other that the national writings of Israel:

The reason I mention this, is that Diodorus Siculus (The Library of History, III.40.9ff) has this strange passage in his description of the people living in this area (written 60-30 bc):

"And among the Ichthyophagi who dwell near by has been handed down a tale which has preserved the account received from their forefathers, that once, when there was a great receding of the sea, the entire area of the gulf which has what may be roughly described as the green appearance became land, and that, after the sea had receded to the opposite parts and the solid ground in the depths of it had emerged to view, a mighty flood came back upon it again and returned the body of water to its former place" [Loeb]

All who consider the Bible as no better than the myths of other ancient cultures, and who therefore doubt its truth are no less proud than was Pharaoh himself and are setting themselves up in opposition to God Himself.  Hear what the Bible has to say of the proud:

Proverbs 3:344
He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble..