If I asked the question, “What did God tell Moses to say to Pharaoh?” you would probably respond, “Let my people go!” At least that’s the way I remember it, but that’s not the whole story.
A closer reading of the story of the plagues God sent against Egypt to convince Pharaoh to emancipate the Israelites in Exodus 7-10 reveals there’s more to God’s directive to Pharaoh than just release the Isralites. And, what else God told Moses to tell Pharaoh suggests that the conflict between God and Pharoah played out in this narrative was of cosmic proportions!
God told Moses to tell Pharoah to free the Israelites from Egyptian bondage “so they may serve me!”
In fact, what may have hardened Pharaoh’s heart was not so much God’s demand for the Israelite’s freedom as His demand for their allegiance! Pharaoh didn’t want to lose his slaves! So, Pharoah didn’t give in so easily.
Israel couldn’t serve both Pharaoh and God. Those allegiances were mutually exclusive. It had to be one or the other, but not both.
The same is true for God’s people today. You can’t follow the ways of the world and follow Jesus. It’s either one or the other, but not both!
Serving God is an all-or-none proposition. You serve Him with your whole heart, not a heart divided by other allegiances. And, to do that, you have to get out of Egypt. You have to disavow the world, relinquish the ways of this world, and pledge allegiance to God! Because the world isn’t going to give you up so easily!
The Apostle John makes this same assertion about our allegiances: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17, NASB).
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15, NASB)