SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 2013
PHARAOH! IT’S TIME TO LET GOD’S PEOPLE GO!
‘…Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, ‘this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: let my people go, so they may hold a festival in my honour in the wilderness.’ (Ex. 5v1).
Pharaoh knew many gods (Egypt had a lot of them). He had, however, never heard of the God of Israel. He assumed that the God of Hebrew slaves couldn’t be powerful. At first, Pharaoh was not worried about Moses’ message; he was yet to see evidence of the Lord’s power.
Moses came to Pharaoh with a mandate from the Lord; it was not to be circumvented. The Old Testament account records that the Hebrew slaves were in Egypt for about 430 years, building Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. Their taskmasters were cruel. At a time, they denied the Israelites bricks. It never dawned on them that the Hebrew slaves would, someday, be free.
God had earlier said: ‘I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey – the land where Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.’ (Ex. 3v7-10).
The Lord God saw the oppression and suffering of His children and was determined to set them free. Already, He swore an everlasting oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey. That is the Promised Land. Moses had no option but confront Pharaoh with the message, ‘let my people go.’
God is saying to persons working in organizations that employ labour: ‘I have come to set you free from oppression.’ The Lord said that I should announce liberty to those who are held by oppressors from graduating in institutions of higher learning, those whose files became ‘missing’ at the verge of a promotion or those who are being exploited by their employers. Pharaoh must let you go, whether he likes it or not. The Lord has spoken!
Pharaoh, figuratively, is any recalcitrant element that would prevent the breakthrough of a child of God. This might have continued for years but God has come, to give liberty to His children. Be free, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Pharaoh is humiliated and overthrown for your sake. His grip over you has been broken by the power of the Almighty.
Let us, therefore, be encouraged by these words: ‘Don’t be afraid; just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord Himself will fight for you just stay calm.’ (Ex. 14v13-14).VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.