Power Versus Respect

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY….  (Now the Lord had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.)  Exodus 11:3 NLT

This parenthetical sentence in the Exodus story would be easy to overlook. But this one sentence gives some good insight into what was taking place among the people of the land. Not just the Children of Israel, but the Egyptians as well.

The Pharoah was regarded as a god. He was “the” supreme ruler. Moses enters that scene as an advocate for a group of Hebrew slaves. This would not be viewed as a position that you would fight to have. This would not be viewed as a “plum” of political power.

As the plagues took place would think that Moses would have been the “most wanted man” in Eypgt. That he would have been blamed, shamed and despised. Yet this one sentence sends an unexpected message. The Egyptians saw the power of the true God, demonstrated through Moses and this elevated his status in the eyes of the people. We read that he was considered a “very great man” in the land. This status was not just among the common people, but Pharaoh’s officials as well.

We can all think of organizations and situations where the person in the “position of power or authority” was not the one who was viewed as having the greatest respect or influence over people. We often use the term, “the power behind the throne” to describe this dynamic. The irony of this situation is magnified since Moses was raised in the palace as a prince.

As the Children of Israel left Egypt, some of the Egyptians followed them. In time it seemed that they wanted the blessings of the Lord without the commitment to the Lord. Scripture refers to this group as “the rabble.” They were often those who complained the most and the loudest when the going got tough.

However, the bottom line observation is we don’t need to count on “positional recognition” to make a difference and to have an impact. When we obey the Lord, trust the Lord, He can give the favor and the influence that we need to accomplish the task that He has for us.

If the Lord opens up a position of power, like Joseph that is certainly a high calling and grand opportunity. But we don’t need to believe that is required to be a person of influence.

Scripture says of Jesus that He, “grew….in favor with God and man.” He didn’t have a title or a position that was awarded to him by virtue of the politics or culture of the day.

As Peter would say of Jesus in the Book of Acts, “And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38 NLT)

We can have respect in a position we hold, but we can also have influence through the respect that is afforded to us when we follow the Lord’s will for our lives.