That Even the Egyptians May Know Through the Glory of His Name
As we have said before, God has a plan, a good and perfect plan. We may not understand it, but we may rest assured that He is working all things after the purpose of His own will. Why? That people may know Him and glorify His holy name, even unbelievers, on the day of His visitation (1 Peter 2:12).
Our passage tells us that the Lord did not take the Israelites along the coast to the Promised Land because there they would encounter the Philistines and might lose heart after having just departed from Egypt. So He took them south by way of the desert where they would meet mountains and seas along their way to Mount Sinai. But as one reads the passage of Scripture, one senses that more is afoot. God was not yet finished with Pharaoh and the Egyptians: Just one more mighty work, just one more sign to leave no question in anyone’s mind as to who the true God is. Pharaoh had 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” (Exodus 5:2). Well, Pharaoh let Israel go, but did he yet know the Lord? Did the Egyptians yet know the Lord? Apparently not, for Pharaoh and his chariots pursued the Israelites one last time to the Red Sea. We read again that his hot pursuit is from the Lord, that the Lord had hardened the cruel man’s heart further. Why? Hear the Lord’s answer: “I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.”
And here we have the answer to why God does what He does: For the sake of His glory and the salvation of His people. There is nothing more in all the world than to know Him, glorify Him, and enjoy Him forever. God’s very public display of glorifying His own name by the works He does is no selfish exercise as it would be for us. He is God, the Lord, the greatest and best of beings. He cannot help but glorify His name as that is the most wonderful activity anyone, including God Himself, can do. But notice how the glorifying of Himself lends itself to the knowledge of Himself and salvation for people. He said: “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” Not Israel. They were already supposed to know. But the Egyptians. Perhaps there was an Egyptian ready to turn away from their primary idol and false god, Amon-Ra. Perhaps there was an Egyptian who was paying attention. Perhaps after all was said and done, an Egyptian was saved through God’s glorifying of His holy name.