Exodus 9:17 “As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?”
Pharaoh exalted himself, yet in verse 16, God claims: “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee My power; and that My Name may be declared throughout all the earth.” (Emphasis is mine). Isaiah 45:7 “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” (I have talked with people who think God did not create evil. But here it is in Isaiah. We have to remember He doesn’t create evil out of an evil heart, His heart is Love. If God did not create evil, then, is there something greater than GOD?)
Pharaoh had a bad case of vanity, pride and arrogance. But God had raised him up for this time.
God’s question is not about Pharaoh exalting himself against God. Pharaoh was considered a god. He considered himself a god. Who would oppose Pharaoh’s wishes? Pharaoh had no idea Who he was dealing with, he thought he was dealing with Moses and Aaron. Pharaoh was exalting himself against God’s people. This was a profoundly serious offense that God had taken up against Pharaoh. Pharaoh was so taken with the spirit of control that he came against God’s people many times; he was an idiot in his stubbornness. God told him right to his face through our hero, Moses, with our question passage. But He heard none of it. This was not the end. There were more dire plagues coming and Pharaoh was immovable because God had hardened his heart.
Why, might you ask?
It’s because God had a point to make for all of history to consider. He is God, and no one can stand against Him. Isaiah 45:5-6 “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.” It was for the Hebrew people to see God’s power and love towards them.
Passover commemorates this event and is still celebrated today, with remembrance of what Pharaoh tried to do, and what God did do. God sent plagues into Egypt but some of them stopped at the border of Goshen, where His people resided. They had to endure some of the plagues so they could know how much God was working for them. That experience helped them to appreciate the freedom they enjoyed from the rest of the plagues.
God was in the process of saving them. But that process took some time, and some inconvenience. The battle was being waged with no sure sign of victory from the Hebrews’ point of view. They knew Moses was sent by the Great I AM, but they must have had their reservations about the whole thing at some moments.
God’s signature salvation was monumental!
But not instant.
Just as any good story, the plot thickened until the climax of relief came. This story is repeated throughout the whole bible. It was stupendously spectacular! We are just so used to hearing the story that we are dulled to the fantastic-ness of it all. Try to read it again with fresh eyes. Look at it from a Hebrew’s perspective.
Pharaoh had exalted himself against God’s people. Moses was not coming against Pharaoh. In fact, Moses was asking for permission, for Pharaoh’s blessing. But pig-headed Pharaoh could not, would not see it this way. When his hands were tied, he gave in and promised to let the people go. But as soon as he had an upper hand, he changed his mind.
The planning and execution of this mighty story in history is amazing to all of us if we take the time to really ponder it. Only God could have pulled this one off! The Egyptian magicians had no chance against such a God. They could copy a few of the “magic tricks” they saw Moses do, but they could not fathom the Master’s Plan! These tricks they had in their bag. But they had no end goal like unto the one that God wrought for His people. You might say the real power in the plan, was the love God had for His people.
This part of the Bible has such richness, so many facets of God’s thoughts towards His people. I encourage you to read again and look for God’s loving-kindness towards His tribe.
If you belong to God, and someone appears to be standing in the way of what God has told you to do, read Exodus again. Be encouraged. God might have a bigger, longer, more magnificent plan than you think. Ephesians 6:11-13 comes to mind. “Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
It seems to be the theme of this question to God’s people as Moses inquires of Pharaoh. God has Moses use this phrase: “My people.” “My,” an important adjective in here. That is enough to let you know Who is fighting this battle. If Moses was faltering, getting weary, he never let it get to him. (It’s not stated in this book.) He was set for this battle by all that God had shown him before it began. He could be strong in the Lord. It was not Moses who came up with this plan. Moses saw first-hand the power of the Lord within his own hand. Remember the leprosy and the healing of it? (See Exodus 4:6-7) Moses was convinced by God of His Might. Moses was able to stand in the face of Pharaoh and all his power as a god in Egypt because Moses was assured of God’s invincible force against this foe of His tribe. Moses probably didn’t expect the battle to rage on into ten plagues but he was sustained by his knowledge and experience of the Great I AM. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
(Eph. 6:13) Moses could stand. And all the people could see it. Pharaoh could not see it. He was blinded by the ruler of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness.
Can you see and hear what God is doing when it looks like He’s not winning? Are you able to remember Who it is that told you to go and do this thing? This story is a great encourager to anyone of us that have a calling, and amid it, when the odds are against you, remember God’s not done yet! He is working on that ego of the person/people or principalities standing in your way. Remember Who wins. Remember who gets the spoils, when you stand firm, having done all (that means obedience), to stand. (Standing means waiting in the knowledge that your God is working on it. Waiting is your privilege as one of His own.)
Are you believing God? Are you being obedient to what He told you to do, and then standing? Are you watching and waiting for your God to clear the way?
Waiting is a privilege!
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