Category : General
Exodus 5: 2 (KJV)
2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.
There is a kind of agnosticism more prevalent than agnosticism of a scientific kind. There is an agnosticism of the heart; there is an agnosticism of the will. Men reason foolishly about this not knowing.
This was the first in a series of responses by Pharaoh, and, as the series unfolds, there is visible a progressive erosion of his stubborn insolence. Unger believed that Pharaoh told the truth in professing ignorance of Jehovah: “The contemptuous Pharaoh, whose absolute power was enforced by his deification in the Egyptian religion, knew many gods, but he was ignorant of this God (the true God). Who is Jehovah, that I should obey his voice? What claims has he on me? I am under no obligation to him. Pharaoh spoke here under the common persuasion that every place and people had a tutelary deity, and he supposed that this Jehovah might be the tutelary deity of the Israelites, to whom he, as an Egyptian, could be under no kind of obligation.
The sad reality is that many individuals imagine that because they know not the Lord, the Lord knows not them. There is a vital distinction. We do not extinguish the sun by closing our eyes. If we will not inquire for God in a spirit worthy of such an inquiry, we can never know God. Pharaoh’s no-knowledge was avowed in a tone of defiance. It was not an intellectual ignorance, but a spirit of moral denial. Pharaoh practically made himself god by denying the true God. This is the natural result of all atheism. Atheism cannot be a mere negative; if it pretend to intelligence it must, in some degree, involve the Godhead of the being who presumes to deny God; the greatest difficulty is with people who know the Lord, and do not obey Him. If they who professedly know the Lord, would carry out His will in daily obedience and sacrifice of the heart, their lives would constitute the most powerful of all arguments.
Therfore, when he says he does not know Jehovah; he does not recognize His authority or admit His claims. His soul is full of practical unbelief in God–a fact which commonly lies at the bottom of all the hardening of sinners’ hearts in every age. Pharaoh did not at first contemplate crossing swords and measuring strong arms with the Almighty God. If he had taken this view of the case he might have paused a while to consider. So, it usually is with sinners. Unbelief in God conduces to launch them upon this terrible conflict. Once committed, they become more hardened; one sin leads on to more sinning till sin becomes incurable–shall we say it?–an uncontrollable madness.
Moreover, if we would know God as He is, we should neither take our own idea nor adopt the world’s estimates, but see Him as He has revealed Himself in His Word, especially in the Gospel which began to be spoken by His Son, the only Teacher competent to instruct us here. God is One, indeed, who will punish sin, etc. As a Holy God, He hates it; and, as a Just God, He will “by no means clear the guilty,” etc. But, at the same time, He is One who would rather not, and who will not unless He must. Judgment is His strange work, and He “would have all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” This of itself is a dangerous ignorance that we have to not fall prey! Ignorance is NOT bliss!
Have a great and godly day!