“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)
I’ve heard it said that the first step in curing a problem is admitting that you have one. And that’s exactly what Pharaoh did when he said that he does not know the Lord.
What does that really mean though? Did Pharaoh ever hear anything about the Lord? Surely, being around all those Israelites, he was aware that they believed in God. So it wasn’t that he didn’t know anything about Him. He just didn’t know Him. Big difference.
Unless you go to very remote parts of the world, just about everyone has heard something about God. It might not all be accurate, but most people know that He is worshipped by many, even if they themselves don’t believe. Knowing a little something about God and knowing God Himself are two different things. Had Pharaoh actually known God, his response might have been different.
Any time we don’t obey Him, it is as if we’re saying that we don’t know Him. So what is that God tells us to do that we must obey? If you ask that question of a priest, a pastor and a rabbi, you’re likely to get different answers. Why is that? It’s not so much because of how they interpret God’s word, but more likely, it’s because of how God’s word was interpreted for them. I often wonder how someone with no pre-conceived notions would interpret the Bible, but someone like that is nearly impossible to find.
Who is the Lord that we should obey Him? Well, if you’re anything like Pharaoh, you put yourself above the Lord, so clearly you don’t know who He is. And if do you claim to believe, but the word of man has taken precedence over the word of God, then you are likely to be deceived. Going back to the priest, the pastor and the rabbi, all three are likely to have something valuable to bring to the table, and yet all three are likely to be missing something valuable as well.
I constantly stress that we read the word, not because people are intentionally trying to deceive us, although some are. It’s because the only accurate truth is in the word. With prayer, it enters our hearts in a way that can’t happen otherwise. The truth is contained in those pages, and we are blessed just for reading them (Revelation 1:3). Only in them can we really get to know more and more about God, to the point that we actually know Him.
Pharaoh didn’t know Him. The rest of the story tells what happens after he spoke the words in today’s verse. It tells us what happens when we don’t know him. The Israelites knew a little more about God than Pharaoh did, though not much more. God’s word isn’t a fairy tale, so that part of the story certainly doesn’t end by saying that they lived happily ever after. But here’s the good news. One day it will. And that’s what we’re all waiting for.
Read. Pray. Believe. Do.
Have a great day everyone!