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Who Is the Lord?

September 16, 2023

Who Is the Lord?

Who Is the Lord?

By Brooke Holt

“Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’ But Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.’ Then they said, ‘The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with sword.’ But the king of Egypt said to then, ‘Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.’” Exodus 5:1-5   (“The Great ‘I AM’” Study Reading: Exodus 5:1-21)

Pharaoh denying the Israelites’ request to feast in the wilderness should come as no surprise. First, God told Moses it would happen. Second, at that time, the Egyptians considered the king of Egypt a god who ruled by divine right. They revered him, and he held absolute power over his realm. He did not know this “God of Israel”, and he certainly did not fear his reprisals. Pharaoh saw the Israelites’ petition to worship the Lord as an affront to his authority, and he punished them severely for their audacity. Pharaoh's men would no longer provide straw for brickmaking; the slaves would have to gather it themselves without decreasing production - an impossible task.

The Israelites became frustrated and discouraged. The Lord had promised them salvation and freedom, but their shackles had only gotten tighter, their burden even heavier. They were expecting an immediate reprieve from suffering. Surely a better, faster, easier way to achieve God’s plan existed. Maybe he had forgotten them after all. Even Moses, who knew ahead of time that Pharaoh would refuse the offer, expressed dismay and doubt as the people began to turn against him.

However, God’s decision not to work immediately or in the way they hoped did not mean he had abandoned his people. They did not know it yet, but God had already set his plan in motion, and his timing was perfect. As he gradually revealed his power and glory to Pharaoh, humbling the “god” of the land, he would also build the Israelite’s faith in the one true God. He was preparing them to trust him and his chosen leader as they journeyed into uncharted territory.

Perhaps you have not, but I have proposed many an “alternate plan” when God’s timing and methods do not match my expectations. Why not just change Pharaoh’s heart? Or smite him? Or put all the Egyptians to sleep for a while? Or transport all the Hebrews to the promised land? (I might as well get creative; after all, he is omnipotent.) But the sovereign Lord does things in his own way and in his own time as he has a far broader perspective than we can comprehend.

The Apostle Peter encouraged the early church (and us) to see beyond our plans, desires, and timing and to entrust ourselves fully to the Lord: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), and his timing is not our timing. We can find it difficult to surrender the illusion of control, but we have hope and comfort in knowing the Lord cares for us. To know God is to trust and love God.


How is the Lord calling you to surrender to his plans and his timing today? How does truly knowing him allow you to embrace all he has planned? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Want to know more about the book of Exodus? Check out "The Great 'I AM'" study written by Charlie and Brooke Holt below. 

Related Resource:

The Great "I AM"

Come explore the grand story of God as the one who knows and loves his people. In one of the greatest love stories ever told, The Book of Exodus reveals God as Yahweh, the Great “I AM.” He is the transcendent, all-powerful creator of all things who defeated the greatest powers of the earth. This same God would have his people know and love him in an intimate and personal way. The Great “I AM” – A Study of the Book of Exodus is a 9-week study consisting of a small group study guide combined with weekly video teachings.  Come and meet The Great “I AM”.


The Great "I AM" - A Study of the Book of Exodus



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