Growth/Maturity, Self-Control, Sin

The Pharaoh Syndrome

Our prayers when we are in trouble:

“God, if you bless me with this job, I promise to become a regular tither.”

“Lord, please let this test come back negative and I swear I will stop having sex.”

“If you get me out of this legal situation, I promise to serve You.”

“If You open a door for me to start this business, I promise I will help someone else start theirs.”

Our prayers a few months, days, or even hours after God grants us grace:

“God, thank You for my first check.  I know I promised to give You 10%, but I have to take care of these bills first.”

“Please forgive me Lord, but a sister has needs. Every good and perfect gift is from You…and sex is good!”

“Thank You Lord for saving me from going to jail, but I have to get back in these streets.”

“Lord, I praise You for my business but I don’t have time to help anyone else. My company needs all of my attention.”

How many times have you found yourself being a repeat offender? I’ll give you a second to think about it and be really honest with yourself. I will be the first to admit that I have made God some promises that I didn’t keep. When we are facing challenges and adversity, it is so easy to strike a deal with God. “If You do this, then I will do this.” The problem with our twisted version of “Let’s Make a Deal” is that we seldom hold up our end of the bargain. We find ourselves in trouble and run to the trouble fixer. In desperation, we negotiate with God to get out of our bind but we never make good on our promises. It’s official; we have been diagnosed with the Pharaoh Syndrome…

In the book of Exodus, God commanded Moses to go before Pharaoh and demand that he let the Israelites leave Egypt. Knowing that Pharaoh would not heed the request, God sent a series of plagues to display His power to Pharaoh. After the first six plagues (Blood, Frogs, Gnats, Flies, Livestock, Coils) Pharaoh still refused to let all of the children of Israel leave. It wasn’t until the Lord brought on the Plague of Hail that Pharaoh finally repented and promised to allow God’s people to exit Egypt.

Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the LORD, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.”  (Exodus 9:27-28 NIV)

Shortly after his promise before God, the Lord made the thunder and hail stop but Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened and he refused to release the Israelites.

Next the Plague of Locusts overtook Egypt and once again Pharaoh made a promise that he had no intention of keeping:

Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the LORD your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”  (Exodus 10:16-17 NIV)

Of course he still didn’t honor his word and refused to let the people go. So God brought two more plagues on the Egyptians. The last straw for Pharaoh was the Plague of the Firstborn. Every firstborn in Egypt was killed including Pharaoh’s firstborn all the way to the firstborn of any livestock. It was only after that drastic measure that Pharaoh finally said “Go!” and meant it!

During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested.  Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.” (Exodus 12:21-32 NIV)

Pharaoh repeated a vicious cycle of making and breaking promises to God. He, just like many of us, found himself in a bind, admitted his fault, asked God for mercy, promised to change but as soon as he got what he wanted went back to doing the same thing. The Pharaoh Syndrome has to stop here!

Read the entire story: Exodus 8-12

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your grace and mercy that are brand new everyday! Please forgive me for the times that I made a vow to stop or start doing something and I never followed through on my word. Show me where I have fallen short and need improvement. Help me to become a true woman of my word. God, please heal me from the Pharaoh Syndrome. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to kill the Pharaoh Syndrome in your life! Whatever “thing” that you keep bringing before God, I EMPOWER you to kill that as well. Don’t force God to make it to the last plague before you change your ways. After you have slain that “thing”, I EMPOWER you to make good on the promises that you’ve made unto God.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Tick Tock

Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments.  As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.