by William J. Stewart
…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.’ (Exodus 5:1-2)
Ignorant of the power of the God of Israel, and bound up in his own arrogance, Pharaoh refused to release the children of Israel. He was the king of Egypt, considered by all to be the god of the land. He was Pharaoh (phe’ rah—the sun). He owned all the land of Egypt, all the flocks and herds of Egypt, all the people of Egypt. Why he heed the feeble God of an enslaved people?
The same arrogant defiance which caused Pharaoh set himself against the Lord bring many today to utter the same question. The apostle Paul wrote concerning the wicked, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened … And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting… (Romans 1:20-21, 28)
Let us consider who the Lord is, that we should obey Him.
He Is The One True God
God has made no attempt in His word to prove His existence. He simply declared of Himself, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). The Lord declared that the works which He performed in Egypt were to the end that the people of Israel “might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him” (Deuteronomy 4:35). Paul declares that we can be assured of His existence, as evident “…by the things that are made…” As the Psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).
Thus, man is held accountable before the Lord, to follow Him. Elijah challenged the people, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).
“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, let them show these to them. Do not fear, nor be afraid; have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one (Isaiah 44:6-8).
He Is The Creator And Sustainer Of Life
The very first words recorded by Moses declare, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Further revealing the Creator, the apostle John likewise affirmed, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1-3)
James acknowledged our dependence on God, saying, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’ (James 4:13-15). Each day we have is because the Lord has given it to us. It is not according to our own will that we woke up from sleep this morning, it is because the Lord permitted it to be so.
He Gave Himself For Us
The apostles John recorded, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us…” (1 John 3:16). On account of the love of God, Jesus became the sacrifice by which we might receive redemption from our sins. The apostle Paul explained, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
Our Lord, perfect and holy, without spot or blemish, became the sacrifice upon which our sins were laid. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. 1 Peter 2:22-24).
He Is The Judge Of Mankind
The Hebrew writer pointedly said, “…it is appointed for me to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Each of us will appear before the Lord in judgment to “…receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Having been warned, it behooves us to prepare ourselves for the judgment.
The Lord has not left us wanting. He has revealed to us the law by which we will be judged, that which “…at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will” (Hebrews 2:3-4). We can have confidence in the Scriptures, which have been recorded and preserved, that we today might know what the will of God is. And further, might we seriously study and apply the same word, for our Lord said, “…He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
It Is Our Purpose In Life
No more fundamental question exists for man than that of his purpose. Why are we here? What are we supposed to spend our lives doing? Solomon, a man endowed with great wisdom gave considerable thought and experimentation to these questions. He tested earthly wisdom, pleasure, great possessions—time and again, he concluded, “…all is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:17; etc). Finally, he concluded, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Why obey the voice of the Lord? He is the eternal God, there is none like Him. He is both Creator and Sustainer of the earth and those who dwell on it. He is the Saviour of man, having provided redemption through His Son. He is the eternal Judge, before whom all men will stand and give account of themselves. As our God, Creator, Sustainer, Saviour and Judge, may we conclude as Solomon—”Fear God and keep His commandments.” This is my all.