Go Ask Pharaoh – Today’s Youth Devotion

Go Ask Pharaoh

Bible Reading: James 4:4-10

God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble. James 4:6

PHARAOH WAS THE ruler of Egypt, the most powerful man of his time. When Moses told him that God said to let the Israelites go, Pharaoh said no. So what did God do?

Well, God let proud Pharaoh chase the Hebrew people to the Red Sea, which God parted to let his people cross. God then brought the sea back together to give Pharaoh’s mighty armies a permanent—and deadly—bath!

Sennacherib, the king of Assyria (and one really bad dude), surrounded the city of Jerusalem with his armies and sent the people of Jerusalem a nasty message, saying, “Do not let Hezekiah deceive you and mislead you like this. Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or the hand of my fathers. How much less will your god deliver you from my hand!” (2 Chronicles 32:15, NIV). So what did God do?

God watched as proud Sennacherib woke up one morning outside Jerusalem to discover that all his soldiers and officers had come down with a mysterious case of … death! An angel of the Lord had killed them all during the night! Sennacherib had to slink out of town. But when he arrived home, his own sons murdered him.

Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar (back in those days, everybody had weird names) thought he was so great that he had a statue made of himself and commanded that everyone in his kingdom should worship him by bowing down to his statue. So what did God do?

God struck proud Nebuchadnezzar with a form of insanity. The king spent seven years living in the yard of his own palace, braying and eating grass like a donkey!

Pharaoh, Sennacherib, and Nebuchadnezzar were all proud, powerful men who were humbled by God. Of course, God doesn’t do such things all the time; he may not make you eat grass and live in your backyard if you are too proud. But it is true, as the Bible says, that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6, NIV).

Sometimes God opposes the proud actively, like he did with Pharaoh, Sennache­rib, and Nebuchadnezzar. But even when he doesn’t drown armies in the sea or make somebody eat grass, those who are full of pride miss out on the many blessings and advantages that humble people enjoy. Humble people, because they are more teach­able, more sensitive, and usually more likable, tend to experience more of God’s grace.

REFLECT: Do you think you’re teachable? sensitive? likable? Why or why not? Why (or how) do you think humility will make you more teachable, sensitive, and likable?

ACT: Eat a salad sometime today or tomorrow to remind you of Nebuchadnezzar, who spent seven years eating grass. As you eat, ask God to help you be humble.

PRAY: “God, I really do want to be teachable, sensitive, and likable. I want to enjoy all of the blessings you give to the humble.”