Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go’” (5:1). Pharaoh’s reply? “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” (5:2). Can we give Pharaoh kudos for his honesty and the correctness of his response? Indeed, he did not know the Lord; that’s true! Thus, he knew of no good reason why he should let Israel go. In short, Pharaoh was simply acting in a manner that was consistent with his lack of knowledge about and his lack of faith in the true God. Is anyone surprised? The Bible tells us that those who do not know God consistently reject him. They reject his word. They make decisions that bring disastrous consequences.
Not only did Pharaoh refuse to let the people go, he doubled down on his mistreatment of the people. And, so, the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh” (6:1). Not good news for Pharaoh, but for Israel: God reveals his personal name, he covenants with the nation, he delivers Israel and provides for her, and he will bring them into a land of their own. All these promises are continuations of that which God swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob (6:8). But to see the promises fulfilled, the people must be freed and, so, the plagues begin: water turned to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, and so on. Make no mistake, God’s people will escape Egypt! True is God’s word!
The great I AM has sworn;
I on this oath depend.
I shall, on eagle wings upborne,
to heaven ascend.
I shall behold God’s face;
I shall God’s power adore,
and sing the wonders of God's grace
forevermore. --Daniel ben Judah (14th century)