Chapter 8: The Plagues: Breaking Free of Ego

Moses Responds to Pharaoh

In Exodus 2, Moses’s passion to free his people led him to commit murder: an immature act that drove him into exile. But Moses has now matured, and God Himself has sent him on this mission. How then does Moses respond to Pharaoh, and what can we learn from him?

Pharaoh repeatedly reneges on his promise to free the Hebrews. Does Moses explode with rage? Does he argue with Pharaoh or try to reason with him, bribe him, beg him, or threaten him? None of the above. Each time Pharaoh backtracks on his word, Moses turns to God and lets Him decide the next step.

This is a very important point. The immature Moses makes rash decisions. He reacts from fight-or-flight mode and takes matters into his own hands. The mature Moses, secure in God’s promise of “I will be with you,” behaves entirely differently. He makes no decisions on his own, because he knows that he doesn’t have the answers. Instead, he brings every choice to God. He lets Him pick the plagues and tell him exactly what Aaron should say to Pharaoh. Moses never questions God’s instructions. He has no personal stake in the outcome—no ego investment. He’s content simply to carry out God’s plan.

As a result, Moses has no worries. He doesn’t second-guess God’s choices when they appeared not to work. He trusts that they were necessary and right, because they came from God. He doesn’t fret about future outcomes by wondering What if the next plague fails and Pharaoh reneges again? What will we do then? Nor does he dream of future success—how great things will be in the Promised Land. He takes it one day at a time, one plague at a time. He trusts that God will tell him all he needs to know, at precisely the time he needs to know it.

In our own lives, the ego likes to play commander in chief. It wants to make the big decisions (okay, the little ones, too), and we’ve allowed it that privilege. It makes thousands of judgments every day based on nothing more than its own limited experience. Unlike Spirit, which is all knowing, the ego operates on scanty data, and so its decisions are bound to be faulty. A Course in Miracles describes the utter folly of relying on the judgments of ego:

In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception. . . . Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?1

If we allow our ego-minds to judge, our decisions will at best lead us into exile from Spirit, like the immature Moses. At worst, they’ll set us on a course toward death, like Pharaoh. Only when we know that we don’t know—and cannot know—do we practice true wisdom. Then, like the mature Moses, we’re able to push aside the false judgments of our ego-minds and take our problems straight to Spirit.