Chapter & verse: Exodus 2: 23-25; 3:7-10
“You can run, but you can’t hide!” It wasn’t Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, who famously coined this phrase on the eve of his title fight with Billy Conn; it is the message that Yahweh, God of Israel, tells Moses to give to Pharaoh, king of Egypt and master of the greatest slave system of the ancient world (Exodus 3:7-10). It marks Yahweh’s entrance to the pages of Scripture. The stories of God’s appearances and promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have provided the prologue for the great biblical saga of deliverance and salvation that begins now in the brickyards of Pharaoh’s Egypt and will reach its climax in the events of Easter: the death and resurrection of Jesus. Liberation – salvation – begins with the God who hears the cries of the slaves and “takes notice” (Exodus 2:23-25). And that is seriously bad news for Pharaoh the slaver.
Pharaoh is lord of all he surveys – a god both in his own eyes and those of his subjects. He is the geopolitical shaker and mover of his day; his concerns are not simply national but regional – global, even. The Hebrew slave nation doesn’t even enter into his calculations, other than as a commodity to be managed (see Exodus 1). In human terms, they don’t even register on his radar.
But Yahweh hears their groans and their cries for help. Did they actually expect anyone to help? Did they really believe that there was anyone who would hear and take notice, care enough to act and be powerful enough to do anything about their situation? …
Lawrence Moore is director of the Windermere Centre – a United Reformed Church resource centre for learning
This is an extract from the November 2013 edition of Reform.