Who Is Your Pharaoh?
By Rodney W. Francis
THE EXODUS ACCOUNT of the deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt is very challenging indeed. God had made great promises to Israel, called the fugitive 80-year-old Moses from the land of Midian and sent him back to Egypt to lead the people out of their slavery (we’re never too old for God!). Together with Aaron he set about fulfilling the call of God on his life – a call he had carried for more than 40 years.
But there was a Pharaoh in the way! Pharaoh was an ungodly and proud man in a position of authority that made him ruler over the Egyptians, as well as the Israelites (who were reduced to slaves).
Pharaoh represented the “stumbling block” to the release of the children of God. When Moses and Aaron petitioned him to let the Israelites go “to sacrifice to God,” he thought it was a big joke. He reckoned they had too much time on their hands and needed more work to do. He ordered they make the same tally of bricks per day but also to gather their own straw, which before was supplied (Exodus 6 ). Pharaoh had no reason to grant Moses’ request. He had seen no evidence of a living God amongst the Israelites. They were religious, but powerless. They believed in the Living God, but lived in slavery. In reality Pharaoh was their “god,” for he had the authority to control their daily life-styles and their future destinies. And he was not about to give up that power to a “returned fugitive quoting a few sayings from God.”
What a picture we have here of life itself for the Christian. We have all the promises of God, have access to the “dunamis” power of God (Acts 1:8 ), have authority in the name of Jesus to fulfil our destiny in the purposes of God yet, far too often, we live like the Israelites of old – in slavery to a Pharaoh. The big questions have to be asked,
IT’S A QUESTION OF AUTHORITY
As the story in Exodus unfolds it becomes apparent that the battle is one of “Who is in authority?” God (in Moses) or Pharaoh? The existing authority was Pharaoh, but God had declared, “Set My people free. Bring them out of Egypt to the place where Moses had encountered Me at the burning bush” (Exodus 3:1-12 ). Moses had received divine revelation on God’s desire for Israel. He knew God’s heart on the matter. He then put that knowledge into action by his obedience to God’s word of revelation. It was then he discovered there was a Pharaoh in the way! Someone with authority stood against him. Someone who wanted to keep God’s people slaves in the slime pits of Egypt!
The Christian message is all about authority:
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bear rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2 , KJV).
Life’s conditions improve or decline according to “who” is in authority! That happens in the world, in politics, the work place, in the home, the church and even our own life. We must ask ourselves:
For the Christian the Supreme Authority should be God.
WE HAVE TO DEMONSTRATE A GREATER AUTHORITY
When Pharaoh stood against Moses and Aaron, he was merely defending his position of authority. He had not yet discovered that Moses’ God was more than “someone religious quoting some Scripture verses at him.” For the ruling authority to be overthrown there has to be a greater authority demonstrated. That’s why Moses had to perform the mighty miracles that outsmarted the best magicians Egypt could find (Exodus 8 ).When they had reached their limitations the power and authority of God through Moses flowed on.
WHO ARE WE FOOLING?
Pharaoh had to see a demonstration of authority greater than anything he had ever seen or experienced before. And he did. Not just once, but again and again. There was such hardness in his proud heart that one demonstration was not enough. It is no different today. If Christians cannot demonstrate the reality and power of the Living God in our current secular, humanistic society, then who are we fooling? Ourselves! The Church of the 21st century is a signs, wonders and miracles one. So,
WHO DOES PHARAOH REPRESENT?
Pharaoh can represent different things to different people. The obvious one is Satan, who is opposed to any of us exchanging his authority over us to that of submitting ourselves under the mighty hand of God. He certainly wants to keep us in slavery and trudging through life under the dictates of “the world, the flesh and the devil” (1 John 2:15-17 ).
But Pharaoh can represent other things to the Christian. He can represent a relationship, a business partner. Pharaoh can actually be a church system that keeps you so “submissive and loyal” that you have no authority of your own in Jesus’ name. Pharaoh may be your own belief system, believing things that bind you more than release you into the purposes of God. This is a big one for many of us. We far too often are waiting for God to do something for us, when already He has given the command to go and do it! We struggle to be obedient to God (because of a Pharaoh)! Obedience must come first – it’s the New Testament way.
PHARAOH STOPS US FROM BEING OURSELVES, FROM BEING FREE!
Pharaoh is “anyone” or “anything” that prevents us from being free in the purposes of God in the here and now. There is a line in a song that says, “For it’s only in Your will that I am free; For it’s only in Your will that I am free . . .” How true that is. Thinkseriously about that statement. Your Pharaoh may not necessarily just be the devil. We need to know that Christianity is all about our rising up to exercise the authority that God has given us in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. The overcoming life (where we live in the authority of God) is not something that “just happens.” It is ours when we have seen the authority of God within us conquer the opposing Pharaohs in or against our life. Every victory we win, every trial we come through, has something to do with the increasing of the authority of God working in and through our life. That does not happen if Pharaoh is bowed to and we let his unbelieving hard-heartedness “dominate” our actions.
The name “Pharaoh” means “sun” or “his nakedness.” Pharaoh’s effects and dominance in the affairs of our life scorches and burns us in the wrong way. He strips us bare, leaving us destitute and naked, exposed and defeated. He reduces us to slaves in a slime pit! God’s will is that we are in His Son (Jesus Christ) and personally know the truth and power of being covered and clothed by the precious blood of Jesus!
When we submit to the authority of God we discover that He is far above every other principality and authority on the earth (Ephesians 1:15-23 ; Colossians 1:9-20 ). In fact God’s authority is so great that He uses every other authority to work out His own purposes to His own praise and glory. Even the Pharaoh that Moses encountered, God used to show forth His power:
“For Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘I have raised you up for this very purpose, to exhibit My power in My dealings with you, and to spread My fame over all the world’” (Romans 9:17 , NEB).
How humiliating for Pharaoh! The very thing he tried the hardest to resist, God took and used it to demonstrate how superior He is to puny man’s positional authority. I mean, Who ever outsmarted God? It is good to know that God has a good laugh at times like that!
We Christians need to re-discover the glorious truth that God is totally committed to those who are in His will. He turns everything to good when we stand according to His purposes. He removes the obstacles and causes the Pharaohs to know that God’s people carry an authority that is “out of this world.”
As Moses continued to declare the purposes of God and not be intimidated by Pharaoh, he saw the break through come. As he continued to release the miraculous (at God’s command) he saw the authority of Pharaoh being broken down. The word of the Lord in Moses mouth kept undermining Pharaoh’s authority until the time came when Israel marched out of their slime pits, out of their slavery, out of Egyptian bondage, through the miracle of the Red Sea, to the place where God told Moses to bring them – to Himself! That’s authority! God’s authority! That’s seeing the promises of God worked through into practical reality! That’s when God is glorified – when people see the evidence of our believing that God is in the midst of His people!
This is a day when the authority of Pharaoh is being brought down. He has ruled for too long. He has kept us down for too long. He has robbed us of our Godly inheritance and it’s time for change. Whoever your Pharaoh is, don’t let him bluff you any longer into believing you have no rights to rise up, that you cannot be any different to what has always been. Jesus Christ is our true authority. He lives in the hearts of all true believers and He has told us to use the authority of His All-Powerful name! Even Pharaoh has to bow to the mighty name of Jesus as it is genuinely and sincerely exercised by you!
Whoever he is, his time is limited, his “number” is up!
He has already given us that power and authority. It’s yours – NOW!
Rise up, speak out, walk on into His more complete victory for you!
Pharaoh is finished!
We’re free in Jesus Christ the Lord!