Pharaoh’s First Words

“Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”
Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.” – Exodus 5:1-2

These are the first words the Pharaoh of the exodus says in the book of Expdus. In Egypt, Pharaoh is omnipotent. At least, that is how the thinking is supposed to go. The reality is, Pharaoh is nothing. He has no power, no authority, no position other than what YHWH allows and YHWH is about to call his loan and Pharaoh is about to find out he is upside down. Pharaoh’s question takes several chapters to truly be answered. 10 plagues later and one first born son less and through his rage and his tears Pharaoh has his answer. He is dealing with the God who is over all other supposed gods. In striking down the firstborn, YHWH has killed the next in line for Egyptian divinity. In doing so, God has answered Pharaoh’s question and Pharaoh now must realize that he no longer and honestly never really had unrestrained power.

Who is the Lord?

It is a very important question. I would much rather that question be answered as God did for Moses at the burning bush than the answer God gave Pharaoh through the plagues. At the burning bush, God told Moses who He was and it was all rooted in God’s covenant faithfulness to Abraham’s descendants.

Who is the Lord?

It is a question people ask today and like Moses, we need to be ready to give an answer to those who ask it. Some, like Pharaoh, will have a harder time than others submitting to God and letting go of their faux sovereignty.

Who is the Lord?

He is the one we worship. He is the one who delivers us from our bondage and oppression, exalting the humbled. He is the one who rights the wrongs and humbles the proud.

Who is the Lord?

He is no regional god of the Hebrews, limited in space and time to a particular plot of ground or dot on the map. He is not a god of the sun or of the cattle or of the Nile. He is Lord of heaven and earth. So let us worship Him and trust Him in all things. Let us be delivered from those things that enslave us and be brought into a land of plenty where we can worship Him without hindrance.

YHWH is the Lord and He is faithful.

One Response to Pharaoh’s First Words

  1. Mark says:

    How many people in Sunday school or in churches of Christ every Sunday could answer that question? I like many grew up hearing about the church and St. Paul and remember hearing very little about the God of Israel. I do not remember praise to/of God save the occasional hymn. I’m glad you are mentioning this.

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