Sometimes when we read the Old Testament, we forget that the stories contained within them aren't meant for sheer enjoyment- a good story to be told- rather, they are there for our instruction. And even recognizing that can be hard to see when reading what seems like just another story.
I think that's how most of us read the story of Moses and Pharaoh, when Moses had to ask Pharaoh multiple times to let the Israelites leave to worship God. It appears like an ordinary story, but it's so much more than that. There's a lesson to be learned from this passage, one that is so important, it could end up sparing you great heartache down the road.
In Exodus, chapter eight, we see that Moses tries various different plagues to persuade Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. When Pharaoh has had enough of the plagues, he begs Moses to end the annoyance caused to him, and once the issue stops, he goes back to his old ways, ignoring his decision to let the Israelites go. I think that when we read this passage, we tend to think about how wishy washy he was, and we forget that many of us are exactly like Pharaoh in our relationship with God.
When tough times hit, and daunting events occur within our lives, we tend to act like Pharaoh and beg God to make things back to the way they were, when there was no hardship or future riddled with difficulties. And sometimes we bargain with God, knowing full well that's not appropriate, yet we still try it out. When God gives us our way, out of his goodness and grace, we forget all the promises we've made or even just the fact that He was gracious enough to ease our burden, and we immediately go back to living our old lives, neglecting God and only remembering Him when we need Him. It can be a vicious cycle, much like Pharaoh's cycle. God kept relenting when Pharaoh begged, but we eventually learn that there was a point in time when God finally had enough of Pharaoh's games and punished him by breaking his spirit in the death of his son. Being wishy washy and neglectful of God had its consequences.
The same applies to us. God is a wonderful God full of grace, but that does not mean we should test Him. We need to remember that when we were first saved, we promised to devote our lives to Him. When we keep that goal in mind, we don't have to worry about being like Pharaoh, for we will always be leaning on Him in the good and the bad times.
Perhaps you're pulling a Pharaoh right now. Remember the end result for him. What can you do right now to intentionally live for God on a daily basis? If you have to set alarms, give yourself reminders, or create a schedule in order to make God a larger part of your day, do so. God is worthy of our constant worship and nothing less. We must do our part as servants and devote all of our time and energy into honoring and glorifying this God who saved us when we didn't deserve it. He deserves no less than our best.