For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (ESV)
Go back to your Bible stories that you heard when you grew up in Sunday School. Do you remember Moses going to the Pharaoh and saying, "Let my people go!" Perhaps, you hear Charlton Heston's voice saying those words from the great movie, "The Ten Commandments." Paul is going back to this story for us in our verse today.
The Pharaoh was the ruler of all Egypt. Egypt was a great empire that ruled much of the known world. The Pharaoh was one of the greatest rulers of the world. Like many who have assumed great positions of power he needed to be reminded that he did not get there on his own. Paul quotes Exodus 9:16 where Moses declares God's words to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up."
What Paul wants us to see here is the sovereign power and will of God. Pharaoh was raised up by God. God knew that Pharaoh was going to put his people in slavery. God knew that people would suffer and even die at the hands of the Pharaoh. God used all of these circumstances to ultimately bring glory unto himself. The Pharaoh was raised up and brought down to display God's glory.
As a result of God's deliverance of the people of Israel from the hand of the "mighty" Pharaoh people have placed their faith in a God who has the power to deliver. His name has been proclaimed in all the earth. Not only is it true that without God the Israelites would not have been delivered, but it is also true that they would not have been enslaved by Pharaoh without God's power raising him up.
We do not always understand the circumstances that we see. The lesson we can see here is that God is sovereign and all things happen to bring him glory. When you look at a situation, consider how God may be glorified. All things are for his glory.