The Scripture loves to paint contrasts for our edification and the contrast to Moses is Pharaoh. Despite growing up in the same household these are two different people; one was poor in spirit and the other not.
Afterword Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”
And Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:1-2, NKJV)
Thus says the LORD God of Israel. Egypt was a very religious culture we know today from the rich amount of artifacts, mummies, and writings that have survived from that era. With that as the backdrop God identifies Himself with His name, YAHWEH, translated LORD in most of our English versions of the Old Testament. As we have mentioned before the name of the LORD represented who He is in all His character and attributes. Likewise the name Christian meant more in the early centuries than it did today. Our premise is that the poor in spirit truly have the right to call themselves Christian because they follow Christ to the point of transforming their character to the character of Christ. Pharaoh is put on notice as to who is making this request.
Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice? Pharaoh declares he is not subject to the LORD and does not have to be obedient to Him. Pharaoh has no experiential knowledge with YAHWEH. To be poor in spirit one must both experience the Divine and be obedient to Him. Both positions are needed and neither applied to Pharaoh. Though Pharaoh will experience God firsthand with the plagues brought upon Egypt, he will refuse to be obedient to the LORD.
I do not know the LORD. To know in the Hebrew means to know, to learn, to perceive, to discern, to experience, to confess, to consider, to know people relationally, to know how, to be skillful, to be made known, to make oneself known, to make to know. Pharaoh not only has not experienced the LORD he did not want to consider or address the knowledge of the LORD. Pharaoh is the classic illustration of the person not poor in spirit: he has no interest in God, especially at a personal level.
Spend time in worshipful prayer with the YAHWEH. Express your desire to know Him and to be transformed to the character of Jesus, to become poor in spirit. Do not be like Pharaoh but participate in the Christian life that you have been given the grace to live.
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly to the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run or labor for nothing. (Philippians 2:12-16, HCSB)