Who Is The Lord That I Should Obey His Voice?
When Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh, they had a message from God (Exodus
5:1). We often observe how foolish Pharaoh was for his response, which we will
consider in a moment. It is true that his response was both foolish and
arrogant. But before we consider it, try to put yourself in his place.
He was the great Pharaoh. His power was accepted far and wide. He was the most
powerful man in the most powerful nation on the earth. He understood power in
it's earthly forms; armies and chariots and gold. If there had been a vast
army of warriors standing behind Moses and Aaron, then perhaps his attitude
toward them and their God would have been different.
But to Pharaoh, the very idea of obeying a God he had never seen, a God of
lowly slaves of shepherd stock, was ludicrous! And this Moses was not a very
convincing speaker either. What does a leader of sheep know about leading men?
And his brother Aaron is only a slave and the son of a slave. Neither Moses
nor Aaron possess any quality that would impress Pharaoh.
So, how can a God who would send a shepherd fugitive and a slave to deliver
His warning be revered by the powerful Pharaoh?
The Request and the Response
"And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the Lord,
the God of Israel, "Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in
the wilderness."' But Pharaoh said, 'Who is the Lord that I should obey His
voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides, 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 the sword.' But
the king of Egypt said to them, 'Moses and Aaron, why do you draw the people
away from their work? Get back to your labors!'" (Exodus 5:1-4).
The Pharaoh asks, "Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice..." he is not
seeking information. He is simply ridiculing the whole notion that he would be
even slightly inclined to listen to such a God or His spokesmen. He is far
more concerned in getting the peoples' minds focused back on who is in charge
and that they better be getting busy.
Pharaoh's refusal to obey the Lord comes from His arrogance, and his arrogance
came from his ignorance. By the way, one can often find the same thing today
as the source of the problem when men and women live in rebellion against the
But for the sake of those who would honestly like to have Pharaoh's question,
"Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice" answered, let's provide some
"And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude and as the sound of
many waters and as the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, 'Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.'" (Revelation 19:6). The Greek
word translated "almighty" in this verse is used some ten times with reference
to God in the New Testament. It means to be "all powerful" or "omnipotent."
God is able to do anything and everything that is consistent with His purpose,
will, and righteous character. There are things that are impossible for men to
do, but not God. Jesus said, "The things impossible with men are possible with
God." (Luke 18:27).
God's divine power is seen in the creation. As we look into our world and the
universe around it, we see the things God has made. Not only did He fashion
and form it, He called the very molecules of matter and created the very
forces of energy into existence from nothing (Romans 1:18-20). Perhaps had
Pharaoh known and accepted that He was dealing with the Creator of all things,
he would have had more respect for the words of Moses and Aaron. Certainly the
same can be said for man today.
"Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I
am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning And
from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying,' My purpose will
be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure' (Isaiah 46:9,10).
There simply is nothing of which God is not aware. He knows from the beginning
of a thing what the outcome will be. That which He proclaims to us concerning
the past, present and future through His prophets is always accurate.
God had even told Moses and Aaron what Pharaoh's reaction would be to the
request, and to each of the plagues that would follow. He knew the very heart
of Pharaoh. Perhaps if Pharaoh had not thought of himself as so smart, and
Aaron and Moses as so backwards, he would have had greater respect for the
Lord's word. Again, bringing the point home to the twenty-first century, men
today need to have a greater appreciation for the wisdom of God. To mock His
word and refuse to be guided by it is no better than Pharaoh, and the outcome
will be just as totally disastrous.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16). If we
only knew that Jehovah God was "almighty" and "all knowing" it would be enough
to respect what He has spoken. But there is more reason to do so. God has
blessings for all those who fear Him from whatever nation on all the face of
Peter came to recognize that God desires men and women of every nation to come
to Him through His Son, Jesus. He said, "I most certainly understand now that
God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him
and does what is right, is welcome to Him." (Acts 10:34-35). What an honor!
The almighty, all knowing one desires to bless me and will welcome me to Him
if I will fear Him and do what is right! He will not cast me out just because
I am not of a certain nation, or because I am poor, or rich, or tall, or
short. He will protect me and guide me to eternal blessings in His Son. And
while those in the world are concerned about war and terror and ozone
depletion and disease, fearful that these things may bring joy to an end,
while I, too, am concerned, I know they cannot take away my greatest joy and
my best victory; the eternal one!
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 14.4; April 2007