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May 11 – I’m Pharaoh and I will not

“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.” – Exodus 5:11-12

Scripture reading: Exodus 5:1-21; Isaiah 51

After narrowly escaping death through the emergency circumcision of Moses’ son, Moses met Aaron in the wilderness and they traveled to Egypt. Incredibly, the people believed the message they heard and then bowed their heads and worshipped the one true God. You could say Moses is on a roll! Moses must be expecting even greater things to happen when he brings God’s Word to Pharaoh. Surely, all that had been promised is about to come about!

But things don’t go according to plan, do they? At least, as we see so often in our lives, according to our plans. In Exodus 5, we see two sides to one great showdown. Here we are ring-side and we hear the boast: “I’m Pharaoh, and I WILL NOT. I will not listen to your God and I will not let you go. Whoever you think you and your people are, I will not take orders from you.”

Moses is shaken by Pharaoh’s refusal. Yet, in the picture here of everything going awry – of the oppression becoming greater and not less – we see a distant preview of another Servant of God Who came to His own and His own disciples struggled to understand how good could come from His rejection. The children of Abraham did not receive Him. Jesus came with a message and mission of freedom and faced the great powers of the evil one head on. When it seemed like the powers of darkness triumphed at Golgotha, Christ Jesus demonstrated His power by rising again on the third day and silencing the boastful mouth of Satan!

Suggestions for prayer

Ask God to show you how to ‘count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds’. Pray for a renewed heart that trusts that the LORD shall bring us good even when others refuse Him.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Norman Van Eeden Petersman is the pastor of the Vancouver Associated Presbyterian Church in BC.

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