And You Shall Know.
Exodus 7-8, Mark 1
“The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” – Exodus 7:5 ESV
God is in the revealing business. The entire Bible is the revelation of God to mankind. In it we get a glimpse into His character and the holiness of His divine nature. But God has not limited what we can know about Him to the Scriptures. Paul tells us in the book of Romans that all men have had His nature revealed to them through the creation. “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made (Romans 1:19-20 ESV).
In the book of Exodus, we see God revealing Himself once again, both to the Jews and the Egyptians. He had already told Moses that He was going to deliver the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. The end result of His actions would be a knowledge of who He was and what He could do. “…and you shall know that I am the Lord your God…” (Exodus 6:7 ESV). God’s goal was that they would recognize Him as the one true God. He wanted them to understand that they belonged to Him and Him alone. They were to worship no other gods beside Him. But they were going to have to learn just how great and powerful He really was. And in order for God to accomplish His promise of redeeming the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, He was going to bring the people of Egypt into a full understanding of who He was as well. By the time this story is over, everyone is going to know who God is and just what He is capable of.
What does this passage reveal about God?
There are no other gods like Him. He is singular in nature and incomparable in power. But the Israelites didn’t know that yet. And the Egyptians had no idea who God was. They had a plethora of different deities they worshiped, but Yahweh was not one of them. This God of the Jews was new to them and they had no reason to fear or respect Him. But that was about to change. God was going to reveal Himself to the Egyptians and prove to them that He alone was God. He was going to multiply His signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. He was going to bring about ten devastating plagues. He would never-before-seen miracles in the land of Egypt that would leave the Pharaoh’s magicians mesmerized and the people terrorized. Over and over again, God says, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord.” His actions will demonstrate and prove His character. They are going to learn that He is all-powerful. So much so, that He controls nature. Not only that, His power is greater than that of the Egyptian gods. It has been said that each of the plagues was a direct assault on a different god of the Egyptians. Each of the plagues attacked a different area of life that was supposedly protected by or representative of a god worshiped by the Egyptians. But those gods would prove no match for Yahweh. The gods of Egypt would prove to be no gods at all. They were powerless before the God of Israel. They could not protect. They could not save. They could not deliver. But Yahweh could and would. By the time the third plague arrived, even the magicians of Pharaoh were saying, “This is the finger of God” (Exodus 8:19 ESV). They were learning. But they were still not fully convinced. The real lesson they were going to have to learn was not just that God existed, but that there were no other gods besides Him. Moses told Pharaoh, “that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God” (Exodus 8:10 ESV). He is the only true God.
What does this passage reveal about man?
The very fact that the Egyptians had more gods than you could shake a staff at, gives credence to the words of Paul in Romans. All men have an awareness of God, but due to an active sin nature, they tend to create their own version of Him. Paul goes on to say, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:21-23 ESV). That is exactly what the Egyptians, had done, even viewing the Pharaohs as a deities. And the Israelites, having spent the last 400 years in the land of Egypt, had taken on the gods of the land. They knew no more about Yahweh than the average Egyptian did. So they too were going to have to come to know God.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
Over in his letter to the Colossians, Paul tells the believers that he is praying for them and says that he is constantly, “asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10 ESV). One of Paul’s desires is that they grow in their knowledge of God. He wants them to know God better and better as they understand and obey His will, living their lives in a way that brings honor and pleasure to Him, and producing fruit that reveals His presence in them. Knowing God is not just to be academic. It is to be experiential and practical. I am not just to know about God. I am to know Him from His presence and power as revealed in my daily life. The Egyptians were going to know just how powerful God really was. So were the Jews.
When Jesus showed up on the scene hundreds of years later, He would be greeted with both amazement and anger. He was both revered and reviled. John tells us, “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:10-11 ESV). They couldn’t figure Him out. He was like no one they had ever seen. “And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority” (Mark 1:22 ESV). He could command unclean spirits and they obeyed Him. The Jewish people didn’t know what to do with Jesus. They were attracted to Him, but did not recognize Him for who He was. But the demons did. Mark tells us, “And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him” (Mark 1:34 ESV). God had proclaimed just who Jesus was at His baptism. “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11 ESV). But the people would have a difficult time accepting that fact. The religious leaders would refuse to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, eventually accusing Him of blasphemy and having Him crucified for claiming to be God.
Knowing about God is not the point. It is all about coming to an intimate awareness of His power and presence in my life that really matters. Jesus Christ has provided me with a way to know God experientially and personally. I know Him intimately. He is active in and around my life. He is not just God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is MY God. He is involved in my life. He rescues me daily. He reveals His power regularly. He shares His will with me repeatedly. And He loves me unwaveringly. He isn’t just a god, He is my God. All because He provided His Son as my Savior. Now my desire is to grow to know Him better and better with each passing day.
Father, thank You for revealing Yourself to me through creation, but more importantly, through Your Son. I am so grateful that I have a restored relationship with You because of what Your Son did for me on the cross. I can know You intimately and personally. I can come into Your presence boldly and unashamedly. I ask that You would continue to reveal Yourself to me, so that I might grow in my knowledge of You daily. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men