I am the Lord. (Ex. 12:12)

Some people in my family enjoy buying a bunch of nuts in the shells, and then using a nutcracker to crack them open and eat. I prefer a bag of nuts that are already out of their shells. It’s much easier and more enjoyable. Some nut shells, like peanuts, are fragile enough to crack open with your bare fingers. Others are so tough they require a device made of metal to break open their hard exteriors.

In the book of Exodus, Pharaoh was a man blinded by pride. His inflated self-importance had formed a hard shell around his heart. He believed himself to be a god, and the ruler of his nation. His pride prevented him from receiving the word of God. God used a series of plagues as a hard-hitting hammer directed to the hardened shell of Pharaoh’s heart, but he refused to crack. Finally, God boomeranged Pharaoh’s own decree back on him by having all the firstborn of Egypt killed, just like Pharaoh had once had the infant sons of the Hebrews killed.

In God’s mercy, he sometimes uses powerful and painful methods to break through our pride and self-deception. When we refuse to listen to his voice, he speaks in ways that grab our attention, with the hope of restoring a right relationship with us. He hopes that we will humble ourselves and follow his commands.

Humble yourself before the Lord.

Jarod Osborne is lead pastor of Pathway Church, in Warsaw, Indiana. He is the author of Jaded Faith (WPH).

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.