Exodus Day Forty-Two
August 27, 2020, 4:00 AM

Who is LORD?
Exodus 18:8-11

Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh
and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake,
all the hardship that had come upon them in the way,
and how the LORD had delivered them.
And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the LORD had done to Israel,
in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.
Jethro said, “Blessed be the LORD,
who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh
and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods.”

The wall art featured above is an amazing representation of Rameses II (“The Great”). The king in his war chariot. A fierce warrior off to battle. Unstoppable. A god of the gods – in human flesh. This is the Pharaoh who 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.” (Ex. 5:2).

From the beginning of the Exodus to the Sinai weigh station, the Story arc has been leading to an answer to the question: “Who is the LORD?” Obviously, Pharaoh and all Egypt do not know any other answer other than “Pharaoh.” “Pharaoh,” which means “Great House,” is the human embodiment of all gods. Such a mindset would lead John Calvin, years later, to famously observe, “the human heart is a perpetual idol factory” (Institutes I.11.8). People are always forgetting God, and creating their own gods, and “worshiping” those gods.

Take a look at the constant Exodus refrain in answer to the wayward human heart—

“You shall know that I am the LORD your God.” (6:7).

“The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,
when I stretch out my hand against Egypt
and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” (7:5).

“By this you shall know that I am the LORD:
behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile,
and it shall turn into blood.” (7:17).

“‘Tomorrow.’ Moses said,
‘Be it as you say, [that the plague of the frogs may go away!]
so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.’” (8:10).

“The houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies...
But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell,
so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that
I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.” (8:21-22).

“Moses said to Pharaoh, ‘As soon as I have gone out of the city,
I will stretch out my hands to the LORD. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail,
so that you may know that the earth is the LORD's.’” (9:29).

“Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants,
that I may show these signs of mine among them,
and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson
how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians
and what signs I have done among them,
that you may know that I am the LORD.” (10:1-2).

“‘The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.’ And they did so.” (14:4).

“And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,
when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.’” (14:18).

After God provides meat and bread for Israel in the wilderness,
He says, “Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.” (16:12).

As you can see, this question is never far from the surface throughout the first twenty chapters of the Exodus. The answer has been in crescendo to the foot of the mountain of God, where God finally rattles the earth, revealing Himself in the fire and the smoky glory cloud of Sinai.

Ironically, a Midianite priest no less, is the one to finally, definitively answer the question! Jethro, after hearing Moses recount their adventures to that point, proclaims “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods.” (18:11). With this proclamation, we come to the place where God will prepare His people for the journey to the Promised Land. Now that they know who the LORD is, they will hear from Him as He thunders from the mountain.


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