Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for by a strong hand he will let them go, and by a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
Immediately preceding this statement of God, Moses had asked God why He (God) had sent him (Moses) to deliver Israel when the only thing talking to Pharaoh had done was make things worse. Pharaoh decided that the Israelites were lazy and not working hard enough and that was why they wanted to go out into the wilderness for three days each direction and worship God. Vacation? Pft! Clearly they did not have enough work to do if they had enough time for a week long worship retreat. So, the work got harder and the taskmasters harsher and the Israelites, who had been crying out to God to deliver them not long before, started complaining at Moses for God’s methods. Moses took it to God and God replied.
Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. God did not just blindside Pharaoh with the plagues and bad times. God gave Pharaoh a chance to do things the easy way. All Pharaoh had to do was let the Israelites go out into the wilderness and worship. Instead, he says he does not know their God and will not let the Israelites go. In addition, the Israelites saw what Pharaoh did to them, but they had not yet seen what God was going to do to Pharaoh.
[By] a strong hand he will let them go. This first statement is that Pharaoh will let the people go. But Pharaoh will not just let them go, it will happen by a strong hand. God is going to have to, as we might say in modern parlance, strong arm Pharaoh into releasing the Israelites. Not exactly a stretch for God, but He does not stop there.
[By] a strong hand he will drive them out of his land. Pharaoh is not merely going to allow the people to leave, he is going to drive them out of his land. He is going to kick them out. Where once his heart was set on keeping them where they were, God is going to turn things around and Pharaoh is going to willingly and emphatically do the thing that God wants him to do.
The same is likely true in some aspects of my own life. I have not yet seen what God is going to do. I do not know His full plan or how things are going to play out. But He does. He will not only work His will in my life, but will do so in such a way as to leave me no doubt that it was His hand and His will that moved me. I have seen this played out in jobs and relationships over the years and know that He does this in the lives of His children. I have only to look and to cooperate with what He is doing.
Father, thank You that You exercise Your might to move me and that You do so in such a way as to leave me no doubt about Who moved whom. Please keep me mindful of this when I am tempted to complain about the way things are going.