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.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go?”
Oh how twisted we become in our thinking when we set ourselves on a throne we aren’t capable of inhabiting, trying to bear glory we haven’t got the shoulders for. Friend, notice that Pharaoh isn’t actually inquiring about the nature of the Hebrew God here. He isn’t like those Greek philosophers who met Paul at Mars Hill by a statue to an unknown god, heard of Christ’s incarnation and resurrection, and asked Paul to share more. He isn’t like those Eastern Magi who searched the heavens for any sign of the coming Messiah, and then travelled countless miles to the backwater town of Bethlehem to find Him. He isn’t like Ephron the Hittite who recognized Abraham’s divine calling and willingly offered the best portion of his field as a burial site for Sarah. No, when Pharaoh asks, “Who is the LORD?”, he’s effectively saying, “Who does the LORD think He is to tell me what to do?!” That’s the cold, hard heart of it. That’s just Pharaoh for you, right? Wait! Stop here. Haven’t we said the same thing in our own pride, friend? Haven’t we tried to conform God’s will to our own desires rather than conforming our desires to His will? Don’t we say things like, “Who are You to tell me not to watch those movies? I’m an adult now—I can handle myself; I don’t need coddling!” Or “Who are You to tell me not to date that unbeliever? She’s been through a lot in her life; and she’s a great person—great for me, in fact; I’m a much better man because of her!” Or “Who are You to tell me to give my savings to that missionary? I’ve worked hard these past decades; I’ve paid my dues—I’ve raised my kids well; You know that. It’s time I get some me time!”
See, that’s the thing about pride, friend. It always starts so tall; so bold and brash and self-important; always knows better. But it always ends in a fall.