Have you noticed the human capacity to worship? It can be seen everywhere. The media loves us to worship because it sells papers, magazines and tv channels. The shops love us worshiping because it produces profit. People are even worshiped and are elevated to A-list standard because they have acted in a film, played a sport or look beautiful. I’m not saying that everyone worships these things but we are all worshipers so our hearts are inclined to the ‘good thing’ that we see, experience or desire. Of course, there are those that are extreme in their worship and we proudly look down our noses at them thinking that their lives are ridiculous and that we would never go that far. We are in control, right? But I wonder, are we really that different …
Moses had experienced GOD in the burning bush and was obedient. He went to Pharaoh, but it didn’t exactly go smoothly – thankfully GOD had warned Moses that would happen.
Afterwards Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.”’
2 Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.’ Exodus 5:1-2
Pharaoh was more than just an A-lister of his time. He was a god, and not just any god, but the top god, Ra. No one spoke to him and told him what to do … ever. He was in charge. When he gave an order, it was carried out. The people of that day would have worshiped him because he was the one that made all things happen. They lived in a culture where he was the reason for the morning sun, the abundant crops, the lush river and the economic prosperity. He ruled all things. Their own lives depended on worshiping him. I can look at this situation from the 21st century and think “Bless them, the poor deluded Egyptians!” and “What an arrogant fool!” but in reality, this arrogant fool was the god of Egypt, the superpower of the day. It wasn’t arrogance, but a reality to him and them.
When Pharaoh says, ‘Who is the LORD that I should obey him?’ he is questioning GOD’s authority. He draws the battle lines and will not be moved. Nothing can shake him from his throne, and definitely not the GOD of his slaves.
Of course, we know that he isn’t in any position to demand worship. Pharaoh held no ability to cause the sun to shine, the crops to grow, the river to flow or make Egypt powerful. Pharaoh had elevated himself to that position and the people kept him there. I wonder if he ever questioned his god-ness. Did he really believe he was everything? The fact that he challenges GOD shows that he was pretty confident in his abilities as Ra.
His arrogant ugliness can be just as real in us today. How many times do I put myself in an elevated position, higher than GOD? When have I decided to do it my way rather than His? What things have I allowed to rule me and positioned them as more important than the One? You see, we are all born with the need to worship. Whether we worship ourselves, someone else or something else.
I tried to draw where I run to worship. I have a tendency to be over concerned with how I am perceived – this may not be what I look like, but more ‘am I liked?’ I will waste time rather than be productive … but when I am productive I get frustrated that it isn’t recognised or rewarded. I try to rule and be in control of things that aren’t in my power. These are the gods that get in the way of GOD’s Lordship in my life.
GOD comes in and says to those gods, ‘Let her go so that she might worship me.’ These things respond by drawing their battle lines and I need to decide where I will stand. These gods haven’t just wandered into my life, I have set them up and ultimately, I maintain them. I need to ask myself what is battling for me and my affections. These other gods in my life will be just like Pharaoh and own an attitude of ‘How dare you challenge me! How can GOD be bigger than me? How dare GOD demand anything of me? I demand worship. I demand time. I demand energy. I demand everything!’ These other gods, when challenged, bite back and seem to hold us in a strong grip.
But GOD still says, ‘Let go of her.’ He wants me to be free.
When I really look at the question, ‘Who is the LORD that I should obey?’ I see the one who holds all creation in His hand, who is Lord of hosts, who is King over all and who is the author of life. These other gods have no real power of themselves, it is only me that gives them power.
It is a personal page … but perhaps like me, you have things that crop up as gods in your life too. Today, as I stand in the truth that I am a daughter of the one and only GOD, who sits on His eternal throne, I am choosing to say to these other gods, ‘What are they, that I should obey them!’