“And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” — Exodus 7:5 (NIV84)
“And the Egyptians will know” are the words God shared with Moses about what would occur when He was done punishing the Egyptians for their harsh treatment of the Israelites and their unwillingness to recognize God’s sovereignty. God wanted them to know who He is! Even in punishment God desires to communicate who He is in relationship to us. He is God, and we are not. He is sovereign, and we are not. He is Creator, and we are creature. God doesn’t punish out of a spirit of evil or hatred. Those characteristics are foreign to His nature. He is a God of love who desires to live in a loving relationship with His creation. Notice how many times in the Old Testament God refers to His relationship with Israel as a marriage relationship. God desires our heart because He has given us His.
How refreshing to know that God doesn’t punish out of spite or bitterness. He doesn’t punish simply because He has the power to do it. He punishes to be heard! Did you catch that? He wants to be heard. That makes me think of Jesus dying on the cross. At the early stages of the crucifixion, He refused the offer of something to drink. But at the end of His crucifixion, when He was bearing the punishment for your sins and mine, He stated, “I thirst.” A soldier offered Him a drink, and Jesus took it. In the midst of bearing our punishment, Jesus took a drink so that His next words could be HEARD. And with a loud voice He cried out, “Tetelestai!” (It is finished). That phrase was so powerfully spoken that Satan heard it and his head was crushed. People have heard it, declared it for over 2,000 years and have found, in those words, the redemption of their souls.
God wants to be heard, and He wants us to know who He is!