“We Must Obey God as Ruler Rather Than Men”
‘Jah Serves for My Salvation’
JEHOVAH’S people faced a choice. Would they comply with the demands of the godless ruler of ancient Egypt? Or would they obey Jehovah God, leave that place of slavery, and claim the Promised Land?
Because defiant Pharaoh of Egypt refused to release Jehovah’s people, God sent the Ten Plagues upon the land. How this demonstrated his power! The deities of the Egyptians could do nothing to prevent those blows.
When Pharaoh was told to let God’s people go, he sneered: “Who is Jehovah, so that I should obey his voice to send Israel away? I do not know Jehovah at all and, what is more, I am not going to send Israel away.” (Exodus 5:2) As a result, Egypt experienced these blows: (1) water changed to blood, (2) frogs, (3) gnats, (4) gadflies, (5) pestilence upon livestock, (6) boils upon man and beast, (7) hail, (8) locusts, (9) darkness, and (10) the death of Egypt’s firstborn, including Pharaoh’s son. Finally, Pharaoh let the Hebrews go. He even urged them to leave!—Exodus 12:31, 32.
Some three million people—Israelite men, women, and children as well as a vast mixed company—quickly departed. (Exodus 12:37, 38) Soon, however, Pharaoh was pursuing them with his formidable army. The Israelites seemed to be trapped between the Red Sea, an unforgiving desert, and Pharaoh’s forces. Yet, Moses told the people: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and see the salvation of Jehovah.”—Exodus 14:8-14.
Jehovah miraculously parted the waters of the Red Sea for Israel’s escape. But when the Egyptians followed, God caused the waters to return. “Pharaoh’s chariots and his military forces [Jehovah] cast into the sea.” (Exodus 14:26-28; 15:4) Refusal to honor Jehovah had led to haughty Pharaoh’s disastrous end.
At the Red Sea, Jehovah proved to be “a manly person of war.” (Exodus 15:3) “Israel also got to see the great hand that Jehovah put in action against the Egyptians,” says the inspired account, “and the people began to fear Jehovah and to put faith in Jehovah.” (Exodus 14:31; Psalm 136:10-15) They expressed their heartfelt gratitude to God as the men joined Moses in a victory song and his sister, Miriam, led the women in dance.*
Jehovah Still a Deliverer
Modern-day servants of Jehovah can draw faith-strengthening lessons from that outstanding act of divine deliverance. One lesson is that Jehovah has unlimited power and can fully support his people. In their victory song, Moses and the Israelites triumphantly sang: “Your right hand, O Jehovah, is proving itself powerful in ability, your right hand, O Jehovah, can shatter an enemy.”—Exodus 15:6.
Another lesson is that the Almighty deeply desires to protect his people. The Israelites sang: “My strength and my might is Jah, since he serves for my salvation. This is my God, and I shall laud him.” Still another lesson is that no one can successfully oppose the will of Jehovah God. In their triumphant song, God’s delivered people sang: “Who among the gods is like you, O Jehovah? Who is like you, proving yourself mighty in holiness? The One to be feared with songs of praise, the One doing marvels.”—Exodus 15:2, 11.
Like Pharaoh of ancient Egypt, rulers of today’s world persecute Jehovah’s people. Arrogant leaders may “speak even words against the Most High, and . . . harass continually the holy ones themselves of the Supreme One.” (Daniel 7:25; 11:36) But Jehovah assures his people: “Any weapon whatever that will be formed against you will have no success, and any tongue at all that will rise up against you in the judgment you will condemn. This is the hereditary possession of the servants of Jehovah.”—Isaiah 54:17.
Opposers of God will fail, just as Pharaoh and his army failed. Jehovah’s acts of deliverance, such as the Exodus from Egypt, testify that it is right to follow the principle stated by Jesus’ apostles, who declared: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.
See the 2006 Calendar of Jehovah’s Witnesses, January/February.
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DID YOU KNOW?
• Jehovah caused a strong wind to blow all night long so that Israel could cross the Red Sea on dry ground.—Exodus 14:21, 22.
• A channel a mile [1.5 km] or more in width would have been required for the millions of Israelites to pass through the Red Sea in such a short time.
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Egypt’s false deities were unable to stop the Ten Plagues from Jehovah
All three figurines: Photograph taken by courtesy of the British Museum