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 5:2 (NIV)
‘And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.’
Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
Exodus 7:5, 13 (NIV)
The story of the Israelites as recorded in Exodus is one where God revealed himself in very powerful ways, yet despite this Pharaoh would not acknowledge him.
In Exodus 5 it is recorded that Pharaoh openly declared that he didn’t know who God was. Pharaoh could just have said that he wasn’t prepared to let the Israelites go and left it at that. However, he decided to say ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey him …’
It is easy for people in authority, powerful people, to think that they don’t answer to anyone, not even to God. The story of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, clearly demonstrates how someone in authority can try to oppose God’s will. Although Pharaoh refused to acknowledge God’s authority over him, this did not change the fact that God was God and that Pharaoh was answerable to him.
Reading Exodus it is obvious that as God revealed himself through the signs and miracles performed through Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh didn’t soften towards the idea of allowing the Israelites to leave. In fact, we are told that his heart hardened. At each point in the story Pharaoh became more and more stubborn. It was almost as if having decided early on that he wouldn’t let the Israelites go, he eventually couldn’t change his mind. Was it stubbornness or pride that caused this? Whatever the reason, it put Pharaoh in direct opposition to God’s will.
In your prayers, pray that those in authority will come to know God and acknowledge him. God wants us as individuals and nations to honour him.
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