Says Who?


Authority figures seem to multiply throughout our lives. As toddlers, we begin to recognize our parents’ authority. Then, it’s off to school, where teachers and principals get our attention. As teenagers learning to drive, we start to notice every police car. And then maneuvering through adulthood, we encounter even more: bosses, the IRS, and a multitude of agencies, associations, and institutions.

  • How do you decide which ones have authority over you?


5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” 2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” 3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4 But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” 5 And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens!” 6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Whose plan did Moses and Aaron present to Pharaoh?
  2. What reason did Pharaoh give for not needing to approve the request?
  3. What did Pharaoh assume about the Israelite slaves in view of this request?
  4. How did Pharaoh demonstrate his authority?
  5. How do you respond to a request made by a person, whose authority you don’t recognize? How do you respond to God’s authority in your life?


Pharaoh, who was considered a god himself, knew the myriad of other Egyptian gods, but he had never heard of this God. Unknowingly, he asked the most important question of his life, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey [him]?” His failure to recognize God’s authority impacted his decisions as well as his eternal destination. Pharaoh was his own god, and he would follow his ways. Every one of us must answer the same question. To recognize God as Lord is to recognize his authority over our lives. The more intimately we know him and his amazing love for us, the more we want to obey him. Do you know this God? If so, how well do you know him?

  • Ask God to examine your level of obedience to him. Ask for a holy conviction of the areas of your life where you are not letting him have his way.