But Pharaoh responded, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him by letting Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.” – Exodus 5:2 (CSB)
Pharaoh’s inquiry is not sincere. He is not genuinely asking, “who is this Yahweh and why should I listen to him?” He could care less. He considers himself to be God. He will do whatever he pleases. It’s a frightening attitude to have toward the all-powerful God of the universe. Yet Pharoah is not alone. We too take this approach.
Every time we ignore God’s commands, every time we take matters into our own hands, every time we think we know better, we effectively say, “Who is the Lord?” We act as if we are God and that we are the ones who know best. Thankfully God deals differently with us than he did with Pharaoh. He gives inexhaustible grace because of what Jesus did on our behalf.
Forty years. Forty long, hot, dusty, repetitive years. That’s how long God allowed his people to wander in the desert. That’s how long it took to form them into the nation he wanted them to be ahead of their entrance into the promised land. Forty years. One entire generation came and went knowing nothing but the desert.
I’m always wary of people who connect Israel’s experience with their own “desert” seasons. After all, shaping the nation through which all other nations would be blessed was far more significant than anything that happens in the safe, sanitized world of American Christianity. Nevertheless, one principle remains the same between Israel’s situation then and the situation you and I may face today – waiting is hard. To be frank, it sucks. All the intelectual knowledge in the world of God’s sovereignty doesn’t change the reality that waiting is emotionally difficult. Patience is never fun to learn. If you’re in that season of life, take heart. At least you don’t have to eat the same thing every day.
Two simple words to describe God’s posture toward the plight of his people. Four hundred years of silence and still, God knew. When all hope seemed lost, God knew. He knew that his people were in need of divine intervention. He knew the time had come to further his plans and purposes.
That’s how it is with a covenant keeping God, one who is faithful from generation to generation. God knew. And God knows.