Who Is This God?

August 23-27


Let My People Go!

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.’” – Exodus 5:1 (ESV)

In the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, VA, there’s a special display for a rickety, homemade aluminum kayak. This tiny, makeshift boat seems oddly out of place in the midst of displays for impressive Navy vessels and artifacts from significant battles on the sea. But a bronze plaque tells museum visitors the story behind this kayak’s heroic makers. In 1966, an auto mechanic named Laureano and his wife, Consuelo decided that they could no longer live under the oppression of Cuba’s totalitarian regime. After spending months collecting scrap metal, they pieced together a boat just barely big enough for two small people. Then Laureano jury-rigged a small lawnmower engine on the back of the kayak. After months of planning and on a moonless night, they set out into the treacherous straits of Florida with only their swimsuits on. They had enough food and water for two days. After 70 hours, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued the couple just south of the Florida Keys.

Was it worth the risk? Laureano said, “When one has grown up in liberty, you realize how important it is to have freedom. We live in the enormous prison which is Cuba, where one’s life is not worth one crumb. Where one goes out into the street and does not know whether or not one will return because the political police can arrest you without any warning and put you in prison. Before this could happen to us, we thought that going into the ocean and risking death or being eaten by sharks, is a million times better than to stay suffering under political oppression.” (Shared by Tim Smith)

In Exodus 5, God had a plan to set His people free from the oppression of Pharaoh. It was an unconventional plan but it was God’s plan and would serve as a symbol of God’s ultimate plan to set people free from sin. God’s two ambassadors had one message from the Lord: “Let My people go.” Let My people go is found seven times in the pre-Exodus narrative.


In what ways have you found freedom in Christ? In what ways do you still need to be set free?


Praise God for His plan to set you free.


Who is the Lord?

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 5:2 (ESV)

Captain James Cook was an English explorer and navigator (1728-1779). He is the man credited with discovering Hawaii. When he first landed on those Pacific islands the natives thought he was a god and gave him divine treatment. He did nothing to discourage their perception; he embraced the role of god. All worked well for Cook until he left the isles. A storm forced him to sail back to the island for shelter. The natives believed no god would be hindered by a storm, so they felt betrayed and killed Captain Cook for pretending to be a god.

Pharaoh pretended to be a god. Pharaoh is not asking for information when he asks “Who is the Lord?” He is expressing bold-faced arrogance. He is saying in essence “Who is the Lord to tell me what to do?” In Shepherd’s Notes, the title “Pharaoh” means “great house.” Egyptians applied the title to their kings. An ancient pharaoh was an absolute monarch and considered to be a god himself. Assuming he was god was the biggest mistake of Pharaoh’s life.


Pharaoh did not have the right heart, but he did ask the right question. Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:15, “But who do you say that I am?” That is the most important question any of us will ever answer. Who do you say Jesus is?


Thank God for revealing Jesus’ deity to you. Praise Jesus as Lord of all Creation.


My People

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.’” – Exodus 5:1 (ESV)

The kids had talked Mom into getting a hamster. They promised to take care of their pet, whom they named “Danny.” Within two months, though, Mom was taking care of Danny. One day Mom decided enough was enough. Danny would be given to a new owner. She called the kids together to tell them. One child said, “I’ll miss him. He’s been around here a long time.” The other child remarked, “Maybe he could stay if he ate less and wasn’t so messy.” Mom was firm, “It is time to take Danny to a new home.” “Danny?” the kids wailed, “We thought you said Daddy.”

God never abandons His people. He sent Moses and Aaron to remind Pharaoh that Israel belonged to Him. The fact that God claimed the sons of Israel were “My people” would be especially bothersome to Pharaoh who considered them as his slaves, his property to do with as he saw fit. So Pharaoh tried to make a point by refusing to let them go and working them even harder. Eventually, Pharaoh would learn they were not his people.


We are God’s people; not Satan’s people. When God claims us, we should remember that He claims His own, and that He is always looking out for us. How should knowing you are God’s child change your perspective on any challenges you are facing?


Thank God for claiming you as His own. Praise God for being greater than any enemy you will ever face.



Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this?”  – Exodus 5:15 (ESV)

I read about a young man who was determined to win the affection of a lady who refused to even talk to him anymore. He decided that the way to her heart was through the mail, so he began writing her love letters. He wrote a love letter every day to this lady. Six, seven times a week she got a love letter from him. When she didn’t respond, he increased his output to three notes every twenty-four hours. In all, he wrote her more than seven hundred letters. And she wound up marrying the postman. (Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations)

Country music artist Johnny Lee sang “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” The Israelites went to Pharaoh for relief and He wasn’t the one who was going to rescue them.  This was a well-meant but foolish and presumptuous attempt to take the matter of their deliverance in their own hands, ignoring Moses and Aaron, the God-appointed intercessors. Perhaps they hoped to compromise with the heartless tyrant; they may have thought that Moses and Aaron were just asking too much. Only God could and would save them.


Who or what do you turn to first to solve your problems? Isaiah 61:3 says, “God is mighty to save.” Are there some areas you have failed to ask God for His help and direction?


Praise God for His ability to save. Thank Him for the mercy He has shown you when you’ve neglected Him as your deliverer.



Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.” – Exodus 5:22-23 (ESV)

Little Billy was caught in the act of some mischief and his mother asked him, “How do you expect to get into heaven?” He thought for a moment and then said, “Well, I’ll just run in and out and keep slamming the door until they say, ‘For heaven’s sake, either come in or stay out.’ Then I’ll go in.”

Pharaoh turned on the Israelites. The Israelites turned on Moses and Aaron. And then Moses turned on God. Opposition can come from the outside and from the inside. God had warned Moses that Pharaoh would harden his heart and would not let the people go, but God had not told him any specific details. And so Moses’ faith begins to falter.  Moses must have thought, obeying God and doing God’s will is exciting. So having experienced a “spiritual high” Moses and Aaron would be ready for their dramatic confrontation with the Pharaoh who instead of softening, became more harsh with the Hebrew slaves. Moses also asks why God had even sent him, a question to which he knew the answer. It was for deliverance of God’s people.


Trials can easily turn into doubts. When our faith begins to fail, we often begin to question God rather than rest in God. Don’t assume that encountering difficulties means that you’re not in God’s will or God has made a mistake.


Let James 1:2-4 be your prayer today: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”