It all took place in Moses’ day. GOD said to Pharaoh, “Turn My son loose I want them to worship (serve) Me in the wilderness!” (Exodus 5:1-2)
Pharaoh: “I don’t know you and I won’t turn them loose.”
“I’m the GOD of Israel and I’m going to ask you ten times to do what I want.”
Pharaoh, the god Re, said: “I’ll say it again; I don’t know you and they’re not leaving.”
“You’ll know who I AM when I have shredded your empire!”
And so it began, like the thud of a battering ram against a strong gate, GOD against the gods with wide-eyed Israel watching it all happening, up close and personal. The gods of Egypt exposed as nothing by the GOD of Abraham.
“Leave!” Pharaoh finally hurried GOD’s son Israel out of Egypt’s land (Exodus 12:33) and toward Nun, the ancient god, obstructing their march toward home.
GOD to the Red Sea, “My People wish to cross.”
Nun, “Let them go around.”
“That doesn’t work for me! Move; we’re coming through!” And so it was that Israel crossed water on dry ground and Pharaoh didn’t. (See texts like Revelation 16:12; Isaiah 11:15-16; 2 Kings 2:8, 14; Joshua 3:1-17—only God’s people cross water on dry ground.)
GOD’s newly baptized son came up out of the water (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-2; Luke 3:21-22 and 4:1-2) and turned to face a brooding wilderness that stared stonily at Israel before whispering, “And what are you doing here in my land—for this is my land?”
Israel said, “We have just experienced freedom from Egyptian slavery and we’re on our way to our new home in Canaan. So we won’t want to stay long in your land.”
“Longer than you think,” the wilderness hoarsely whispered. “I am Sekhmet, goddess of Egypt, goddess of wilderness, destruction, death and many other things. Now that you’re here this will be your tomb until I end you, until I bury you and destroy even the remembrance of you. But of course if you were to worship me…a return to Egypt is always open to you.”
And an intimidated, frightened nation stood in stunned silence for a while as Sekhmet whispered of her power and success. In silence, that is, until a teenage girl began to sing the song of Moses and Miriam (Exodus 15:1-21; Jeremiah 2:1-3), then others joined her and before long an entire nation in the name of GOD sang defiance of Sekhmet drowning out her whispered threats carried on the wind and then they took GOD’s hand and prepared to continue home with Him.
And GOD said to Sekhmet, “There’s My response to you. My sons and daughters have met your like before this day. My name is Yahweh and I am the GOD of gods and the LORD of lords. (Exodus 12:12; 14:11; Numbers 33:4; Psalm 126) And I keep My promises!”
And the wilderness said, “I will have no part in feeding them or keeping them alive. It was a sad day for them when they wandered into my world.”
“Yes, but I will feed them.” said GOD. You keep no one alive! It is in Me that all who live live and move and have their being. (Acts 17:24-29)
And this people, they didn’t enter your world,” said GOD. “Even this desolate place is Mine.
Nor did they wander into this strange land of Mine, I brought them here so that they would know Me and know that I am GOD and that they don’t live because there’s food; they live because I promise them life. (Deuteronomy 8:1-4)
Here in this land I will spread a table for them and feed them. You? For all the ultimate damage you can do you might as well be a park.”
(I’ve borrowed the heart of this piece from my book on Exodus: Heading Home With God.)