Nothing escapes my gaze. Thousands live and die by my word. No foreign god could possibly sway me. And this man, Moses, dared to tell me I must release “his people” so they could go away to worship him? Pffft.
I am Pharaoh.
Who was this god to which Moses referred, anyway? He thought himself more powerful than Ra, god of the sun? Or Amun, our creator? And what about Isis, our mother? What could possibly make him think he held more power than they? Ridiculous. “His people” were in my chains, and forced to do my bidding. I, Pharaoh, determined whether they would come or go, live or die. Their worship would be in vain, anyway. Their god held no power.
The Israelites belong to me. I will never release them.
And what kind of god “meets with” his people? Ha. What a joke. The gods do not meet with people. They are to be served, feared and worshipped from afar. Moses and his companion were out of their minds. It was all just an elaborate ploy to get the Israelites out of their work. To teach Moses a lesson, I made the slaves tasks even more difficult.
I refused to cower in the face of their little magic tricks. Turn a staff into a snake? Big deal. My sorcerers did the same, and better. Water into blood? Child’s play.
So the frogs, gnats and flies were…inconvenient. But how quickly this god acquiesced to my request. All I had to do was extend a simple, insincere request of Moses, and he convinced his god to remove the curse. Fools, all of them. A great leader never bows to the request of another. The Israelite god showed his colors, and they ran yellow. He is weak.
Then he killed off our livestock. My blood boils to think about it. Thousands and thousands of beasts, dead. Wasted. The stench of their carcasses still assaults my senses. He deigned to allow the Israelites’ livestock to live, though. Not a single one perished. Just who did this god think he was? The Israelites possessed only what I, Pharaoh, allowed them to possess! Their beasts were mine. He lived in a fantasy world.
The boils were…disgusting. I heard the cries of those afflicted, and I admit they looked to be a painful annoyance. But then came the hail. Killing my people and beasts alike, lightning flashed and huge rocks of hail fell. It struck every plant, every tree.
That is when I knew. This god was real. He was powerful. He was serious.
I called for Moses, and he beseeched his god for me. The hail stopped. But I realized my mistake and changed my mind. I couldn’t allow my people to see me cave.
I am Pharaoh. I will never bow to a god I do not know, and certainly not at the insistence of some Israelite.
Then the Hebrew god sent locusts, killing what little had survived the hail. My advisors pleaded with me to release the Israelites, but too much was at stake.
So he sent darkness. The kind of darkness that could make you go mad. Darkness that went on for days. There was no sun. Ra didn’t help us. Amun didn’t rescue us, either. Isis remained silent.
My country was decimated. My people were riddled with fear and anger. We had no crops, no livestock. No future. My grasp on Egypt was slipping, and my people questioned my resolve.
Still, I held fast to my vow. What more could this god do to us? He had taken everything from us already. He had shown that he was strong and I knew what he wanted.
But I would not let them go.
The Hebrew god would not relent. I should have known. It was not enough for him to take my country, my livestock, my future and my people. No. Instead, he crept into my palace in the dead of night, stealing the very breath of my firstborn. He might as well have ripped my beating heart from my chest, such was the pain. I will never forget the cries that pierced the darkness that night. My howls of anguish mingled with thousands of others. The god of the Israelites left no house untouched…save those of his precious Jews and the few traitors that followed the instruction of Moses. In my moment of weakness, I was a fool. I let them go, when I swore I would not. My mind was unclear, numbed by the loss of my child. The Hebrew god took advantage of me.
Which brings us to here. I see the Israelites now. They are practically shaking with fear as they plod along the path… And look! Their god still insists on showing his power. Even now, he parts the sea around them!
What arrogance! Does he not feel how the ground shakes with the strength of my army? What a fool! Hundreds of officers and chariots ride with me. Do they really think I will ever let them go? Does he think he frightens me? I have nothing left to lose, and they belong to me!
We will follow them through these waters and I will bring them back to Egypt with me.
Pharaoh was an unwitting testament to God’s incredible power. Time and again, God demonstrated His strength, power and might…and time and again, Pharaoh attempted to stand up to Him in vain. For all of Pharaoh’s pride, he never stood a chance. He lost everything, including the loss of his son…and later, his own life. (for the whole story, see Exodus 4-13)
My God, the God of the Israelites, holds that same power today. He is unchanging and His power unmatched. It is easy for us to condemn Pharaoh for his pride, but how often do we rely on our own strength rather than God’s when we are faced with emotional and mental bondage? Do we try to redeem our (addiction, anger, depression, grief, relationships, trauma, loneliness) on our own, or do we turn to the only One capable of delivering us from our chains? Try as we might to save ourselves, we will always fall short. The exultant exodus of the Israelites paints a beautiful picture of the freedom God offers us through salvation in Jesus.
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