Who is the LORD?
“Who is the LORD, that I should listen to him?” asked Pharoah, confident and smug in his ignorance. No doubt, this is a question that all of us – at one time or another – have asked. Whether we grew up “unchurched” or attending every time the doors were opened, most of us, at some point, have had the same question as Pharaoh. Is the question wrong? Not at all. The key is the heart behind the question.
In our Exodus readings, Pharaoh (considered a divine king and god by Egyptian religion) had a vested interest in keeping Israel enslaved: free labor. History (and Scripture) tells us that Pharoah should have known who this “LORD” was: it was the LORD who sent Joseph to Pharaoh’s great (or great-great) grandfather with a dream that saved the entire region from famine (and brought blessing to Egypt and the Israelites). In Genesis 41, the former Pharaoh had said to Joseph, “God has made all of this known to you,” and because the Spirit of God was in him, he gave Joseph charge over the entire land of Egypt. But the Pharaoh of Moses’ time had deliberately hardened his heart. His question – and the unspoken answer stemming from his pride – that Pharaoh was greater than God, the LORD, ultimately brought destruction on his people, including his own first-born son.
Who is the LORD?
In an intriguing twist, the LORD puts the question to Job (Job 38:2): “Who is this who darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” In some of the most beautiful poetry recorded in Scripture, God himself answers our question (and Pharaoh’s, and likely Job’s), revealing the breathtaking majesty, grandeur, and glory of the One who speaks worlds into existence, numbers the stars, and rules over all creation! “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?”…“Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion?”…”Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty. Unleash the fury of your wrath: look at every proud man and bring him low” (Job 38:12, 31 & 40:10-11). Indeed, this – exactly – is what Pharaoh thought Pharaoh was capable of until God himself brought the Egyptian ruler low.
Who IS the LORD?
Awe-inspiring? Yes. Awesome? Absolutely. Ruler of the universe and all things known and unknown? Without a doubt. But left there with this answer, we are left stranded. Lonely in an universe of vastness, confronted by a power beyond grasping and – in Job’s case – seemingly unpredictable, despair seems almost inevitable. But for Job and Moses, and in the Exodus, we gain this truth: the God of glory, wisdom, might and power – this God – he is love. For Job (after he had passed the test): “the LORD … gave him twice as much as he had before…and blessed the latter part of his life more than the first.” And Israel: they knew God was great, but “when they heard the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.” Why? God cared. God is love.
Who is the LORD?
In Psalms chapters 18-20, David pours out praise: our God – this King and Ruler of all – is our Fortress, our Defender! Nothing – no one – is or could be God but he, and yet, in love, he helps those who love him by not only protecting us, but rescuing us and fighting for us. This knowledge, then, informs Matthew chapters 24-28: in the ultimate fight for us, this LORD – our King, our God, Ruler of the Universe – takes on flesh (Jesus) and dies the death we deserved to reconcile us to himself to be sure we no longer needed to be separate from him again. David states, “He rescued me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19).
Beloved ones, take this to heart: God delights in us. Our sins? No. Our failures? No. In us. He wants us to know him, to be with him where he is (John 14). Friend, he created you. He loves you. Who IS the LORD? He is the almighty, all-powerful creator of all that is, and that mighty majesty is the lover of your soul: your Defender, your Provider, your Fortress. Does it always look like it? Nope, but he IS. His love is not just a warm and fuzzy feeling: it is an active love that crosses death and hell itself to win you back, seeks your best, desires your heart. Time and again, Scripture and the experience of those who know and love him show this: God is love. God is good. And…God is the LORD, no one else. Greater than all we can imagine, grasp, or consider this side of heaven, we still can trust him. He loves us. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
Have you ever asked, “Who is the LORD?” What was your answer? Why? How do these passages confirm or change your answer? Do they raise new questions?
Take a few moments with honesty before God. Are there any sins (attitudes, thoughts, actions) that are putting a wall between you and God right now? If so, take a moment to tell God and receive his cleansing (1 John 1:9).
Have you ever trusted Jesus Christ to be your savior? If you haven’t, take a moment to pray. Ask Jesus to become your savior and forgive your sins so that you can experience the love of God.
All of us doubt sometimes. We’re human, and we can’t always see the bigger picture.
If you struggle to believe God’s love, ask him to reveal it to you in ways that speak to your heart.
If you struggle to believe that God can work in your situation, ask him to show you his power and help you know that he literally can do all things.
For Action: Journal
Take a moment to list the attributes of God that you know for sure (or mean most to you).
List five ways you have seen God work in your life or in the lives of those you know personally.