How well do you negotiate? Making deals is part of my heritage, so, I should be better at it. My Grandfather owned Brooks Trading Post in Wapita, Washington. My dad dealt in used cars as long as I can remember. That is how he paid for us to go to college. He bought a car with a mechanical problem, fixed it and sold it. He had an expression for people who weren’t serious about buying: “tire-kickers.” You know the type. They say they are interested, walk around and kick the tires but they have no intention of buying anything that day. So they are wasting your time.
Pharaoh was a tire-kicker. To this day bargaining is an art-form in parts of the Middle East. This goes back to Abraham buying the cave and field at Machpelah to bury his beloved Sarah. “What is that between you and me?” the seller says, a bit disingenuously. Actually they want to get as much as they can for their product, but they undersell in low tones as the negotiation begins.
When God spoke through Moses and Aaron to say to Pharaoh, “let my people go,” the Egyptian ruler proposed a series of compromises. He was hoping to keep his slave labor force in the Hebrews. So after each successive plague, he would say, “Okay, you can go but . . .” Consecutively he said, “Sacrifice to the Lord, but stay here;” “Go but do not go very far;” “Go but you can’t take your livestock;” “Go, but you have to leave your children.” Each time he bargained, he also pleaded for the removal of the most recent plague. All the while he had no intention of obeying God and letting the Israelites go.
What excuses are we making for not obeying God? To be clear, our negotiating position with God is not one of strength. We never have any leverage over God. Best to obey. We have no time to waste. Delayed obedience is disobedience. When you go with God, go all in. You can’t go with God and stay where you are. So go big, take your stuff and your family with you. Otherwise, you are just kicking tires. Between you and me, once you have decided to follow Jesus, there is no turning back.