But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. Still you exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go. (Exodus 9:16-17, NASB emphasis added)
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.’” (Exodus 10:3, NASB emphasis added)
My power…My name…My people…serve Me. The Creator of the universe lays out His will in these passages: it is not about Pharaoh it is all about the LORD. God is the only entity whose will is perfect and purposeful. There is no self-promotion by the Lord because He is already at the pinnacle, for He has always been there. The Lord God in His divine perfection needs not to exalt Himself for that is to indicate that He has been brought low or is less than He could be – both of which are Biblical impossibilities. When man, like Pharaoh in this instance, fails to recognize the perfection of the will of God, he misses the plan of the Maker. The person who is poor in spirit seeks after the will of the Lord because it is in both God’s and his best interest. Who would want anything else? It is a tragedy of the human condition to desire something other than the will of his Benefactor.
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think soberly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. (Romans 12:1-3, HCSB)
You exalt yourself…you refuse to humble yourself. We now see the example of what not to do if you are poor in spirit. The Hebrew word for exalt in this passage means to build up, to lift up, to exalt. It means to hold someone or something in a position of a high or excessively high reputation or worth. Pharaoh not only thought highly of himself, but his actions were expressly done in order to make himself look good in the eyes of men – self-exaltation. We also are told what Pharaoh was supposed to do: to humble himself. The Hebrew word for humble in this passage means to bow down, to humble oneself, to be humbled. It is a purposeful action to take the submissive position in reference to God, the exalted One. The person poor in spirit both does not exalt himself and humbles himself in the sight of the LORD God.
Prayerfully meditate upon the following passages and know that God is the perfect One:
2 Samuel 22:31-33; Job 36:4; Job 37:16; Psalm 18:30; Psalm 19:7; Psalm 101:6; Psalm 119:96; and Deuteronomy 32:4