The first encounter of Moses and Aaron with the Pharaoh of Egypt is recorded in Exodus 5 - "Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD God of Israel: "Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness."' And Pharaoh said, 'Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go'" (5:1,2).
Pharaoh knew nothing of the true and living God, though he was well acquainted with the false deities of Egypt. He believed that Jehovah, the God of Israel, had no claim on him. He didn't consider himself to be indebted to God in any way. The Lord meant nothing to Pharaoh, and that is why he felt no need to obey Him.
Pharaoh would soon learn the answer to His question the hard way! He would learn exactly who the Lord God of Israel was and why He should obey His voice. He came face to face with the power of the only true and living God--and suffered much devastation needlessly! God would not be mocked by Pharaoh's broken promises. This Egyptian leader continued hardening his heart after there was relief from the various plagues. He persisted in his refusal to let God's people go. Although Pharaoh tried to mock God, he only ended up deceiving himself and bringing great suffering upon his nation (cf. Gal. 6:7).
Men and women in every age have asked (and will continue to ask) the first portion of the question that Pharaoh asked centuries ago: Who is the Lord?
Let us look to the Scriptures for the answer. There are ten points that we will briefly consider in this lesson. It is important that we understand who the Lord is. When we have a proper concept of who He is, we will also understand why we should obey His voice.
1. THE LORD IS THE GREAT FIRST CAUSE.
Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." God is "from everlasting to everlasting" (Psa. 90:2). He has always existed, He currently exists, and He will always exist. From nothing you will always get nothing; thus, there has always been something or someone--that is, God! The evolutionists, on the other hand, start with a tiny, lifeless speck and affirm that it is the great first cause of everything in our Universe. Let's be clear: isn't it more reasonable to start with an all-powerful, self-existent God than a tiny, non-living piece of matter?
2. THE LORD IS THE CREATOR.
This point is, of course, closely linked with the prior one. Exodus 20:11 reads - "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them..." He made the planets and stars. He made man, animal life, and vegetation. This is the only reasonable way to account for the existence of things, not evolution. Evolutionists believe that we have creation as the result of a blind, chance process that has never been proven.
A young skeptic once said to an elderly woman, "I used to believe in God, but since studying science I am convinced that God is but an empty word." The lady replied, "Well, I have not studied science, but since you have maybe you can tell me where the egg came from?" He replied, "Why, of course, it was from the hen." "And where did the hen come from?" "Why, from the egg." "And perhaps," said the woman, "you can tell me which existed first." "The hen, of course," said the young man. "You mean that a hen existed without having come from an egg?!" "Oh no," said the young man, "I should have said the egg first." "Then you mean that an egg existed without having come from a hen?" The young man exclaimed, "You've got me all mixed up!" She drove home her point: "Young man, since you cannot explain the existence of even a hen or an egg without God, you cannot expect me to believe that you can explain the existence of the whole world without Him!"
God is a master designer. Cicero once said, "If you saw a splendid house, you surely would not assume that it was built by mice or weasels. A splendid house implies a splendid architect; and a wonderful world implies a divine creator." Does that make sense? It absolutely does! That is the argument from design in a nutshell. Evidences of design demand a designer! This argument is also informally stated in the Scriptures - "For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God" (Heb. 3:4). We see God's marvelous design everywhere (e.g., in the orbit of our planet, in the size and positioning of our moon, in the human body in innumerable ways, etc.). The world is preserved today by the power of the Creator's words (cf. II Pet. 3:7).
3. THE LORD IS A SPIRIT.
John 4:24 affirms this truth. Admittedly, it is difficult for us to think in spiritual terms, since we live in a physical world here on Earth. We feel comfortable with that which we can verify empirically (i.e., with our senses). But, God is not flesh and bones, and our existence is much more than a physical body. When we think of God as a spirit being, it does make it a bit easier to fathom His omnipresence (cf. Psa. 139:6ff).
4. THE LORD IS ONE.
Deuteronomy 6:4 states - "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!" The focus in this verse is upon the unity of the Godhead, although it is also true that there is only one God (cf. James 2:19). There is no need for other gods, as is the case in many world religions. Jehovah is more than capable of handling everything--whether mankind believes so or not!
5. THE LORD IS IMPARTIAL.
This truth is seen numerous times in the Scriptures. God "makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45). God sent His Son to die for all mankind, not just a select few, as I John 2:2 teaches - "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." Also consider John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Peter clearly declared the Lord's impartiality in Acts 10:34,35 - "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him."
6. THE LORD IS BOTH GOOD AND SEVERE.
Paul writes in Romans 11:22 - "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off." God will richly bless those who believe in Him and are faithful to His word. As Deuteronomy 4:31 reveals - "(for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you..." However, those who disobey Him and live in rebellion should expect to experience His wrath - "For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God" (Deut. 4:24).
7. THE LORD IS THE SUPREME RULER.
As the Almighty Creator, it logically follows that God is the Supreme Ruler. Psalm 47:7 - "For God is the King of all the Earth; sing praises with understanding." Daniel 4:34,35 records - "For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, 'What have you done?'" Whether man acknowledges the fact or not, God is the supreme ruler of everything--period! This was a difficult lesson that Nebuchadnezzar was slow to learn. Many today likewise struggle to accept the truth that man must look to God--the Supreme Ruler--for guidance. "O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jer. 10:23).
8. THE LORD IS LOVE.
I John 4:8 reveals - "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." F.M. Lehman wrote some wonderful lyrics that I believe aptly describe the depth of God's love. Consider the words to the third stanza of his song entitled, The Love of God:
"Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole Though stretched from sky to sky."
9. THE LORD IS FATHER.
We often use the term "Lord" to strictly refer to Jesus, but the Bible does not use the term exclusively that way. The Lord God (Jehovah) is our Father. The parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15 really paints a wonderful picture of what it means for God to be our Father.
A ship at sea was being tossed mercilessly by the wind and waves. The passengers were scared--that is, all except one girl. "Why aren't you afraid?" asked one of the passengers. She replied, "Because my father is the captain of the ship." How glad I am that God is my Father! As the storms of life rage, I can state with confidence, "I am not afraid, for my Father is the captain of the ship."
10. THE LORD IS SALVATION.
Psalm 62:7 - "In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God." Outside the Lord, there is no salvation (cf. Acts 4:12; II Tim. 2:10). This is a hard truth for some to accept, but it is the truth nevertheless.
So, dear friends, who is the Lord to you? Are you heeding His voice today? Thank you for listening, and may the Lord bless you as you strive to do His will.