When Moses goes before Pharaoh this time, we almost have a glimpse of hope as Pharaoh offers to let the people. Once Moses tells Pharaoh that all the people of Israel must go, Pharaoh calls his thoughts evil and directs Moses only to take the men into the wilderness to praise Yahweh. God causes locusts to consume what is left of the land. When Pharaoh begs for forgiveness (just this once), God relents and drives the locusts out of the land with a strong west wind. Surprise, Pharaoh hardens his heart again and will not let the sons of Israel go.
In the text, we see that Pharaoh has moved away from trusting in the false gods of Egypt and his priestly magicians to keep Egypt superior. Pharaoh’s servants even plead with him because their home is destroyed, and they do not desire to see any more destruction. Seth, the god of storms and disorder, is the Egyptian god targeted in this plague, but Egyptians are looking to Pharaoh to deliver them. He tries, here, to overcome his pride to save his people, but His heart is hardened.
To overcome one’s pride by one’s own power is itself prideful. Just as two wrongs don’t make a right, pride cannot conquer pride. We often think too highly of our own ability to be humble by our own working. Like Pharaoh tries and fails, when we try to conquer our own pride our hearts are hardened and we become more prideful as a result. Pride must be dealt with from outside us—even then, our own pride is the strongest enemy we face in this life. This is one reason I believe it so necessary for us to be involved in a local church. Living and serving God with people is a humbling experience. Many people don’t like church because they love their pride—so they spend time in isolation instead and increase their pride rather than their Christlikeness. Many call that good religion, but it is terminal. Pride also cannot be beaten without the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives—convicting us on matters of pride and the inflated ego of the natural man. In a society that prizes and defends human pride, which is the greatest enemy of humanity, may we return to Christ and be with His church. Lord, please increase our humility.