We Do Not Negotiate

We Do Not Negotiate

Picture this: Moses is standing before Pharaoh. Nine horrific, unfathomable, devastating plagues have come and gone. Finally, Pharaoh is willing to broker a deal with Moses. Hard-hearted Pharaoh has finally reached his max, and he presents a deal to Moses.

Imagine Moses. Exhausted from the magnitude of his calling. Completely spent. Hoping the end to this madness is near. A deal is placed on the table. Does he accept it? Should he accept it?

What was this deal? What was this proposal issued by Pharaoh? Scripture explains in Exodus 10:24. Pharaoh said,

“Go, worship the LORD. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.”

The deal was simple. The people could leave. But the flocks and herds had to remain. Because remember, all of the flocks and herds of Pharaoh and the Egyptians were killed in the fifth plague. Every last one of them. So, Pharaoh wants a little restitution. The people can leave. But the animals must stay.

I love Moses’ response in verses 25-26.

But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the LORD our God. Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the LORD our God…”

The deal was off. Moses was not about to bargain or negotiate the terms of the exodus. It was all or nothing. The animals were coming, because they were a vital part of their worship of Yahweh. No animals meant no sacrifices. And no sacrifices meant that the exodus would be for purely selfish motives, not for the glory, praise and adoration of the God who was actively delivering them.

If we’re honest about Moses’ humanity, I think that it would have been very easy in that moment to accept Pharaoh’s offer. He was tired. Exhausted. And ready for this showdown to be over. But he stood his ground, willing to see this thing through to the end, fully trusting that God’s sovereignty would have its way.

I can’t help but notice the leadership principle so clearly displayed for us in this account. Whether you are a lead pastor, worship leader, children’s worker, a parent, an accountant, a lawyer, or whatever, part of the responsibility of a Christian leader is to maintain the course even when shortcuts present themselves. Shortcuts will pop up out of nowhere with the glamorous goal of getting you to your desired end without the necessary blood, sweat and tears.

Shortcuts will pop up out of nowhere with the glamorous goal of getting you to your desired end without the necessary blood, sweat and tears.

 Part of the glamour may even lie in the fact that you may have legitimately suffered pain, struggle and sacrifice to get to this point. And yes, you may have truly persevered through some storms like Moses, but you have to ask yourself if the struggle is over. You have to ask yourself if you’re trying to take a shortcut to get you where God is intending to take you. Moses would have been able to provide immediate gratification for his people and for the situation had he accepted Pharaoh’s offer. But in the end, he would have paid a higher price, not being able to offer the acceptable and appropriate worship that God desired.

Don’t look for the shortcuts. God has you on this journey for a reason. You owe it to those that are looking to you for leadership and guidance, though they may never understand the gravity of your dilemma.

Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.