It is far too easy for us to lose sight of the sovereignty of God when we find ourselves in stressful situations. When God is forgotten we fall prey to temptation to try control the situation by various human means. Deliberate or unintentional, with God out of the picture we come through with fixes that only make our problem only worse.
Reading and meditating on Biblical accounts is perhaps the best way to see the reality behind stress scenes. Lets focus a bit on some reality that happened behind the scenes when Moses went to meet Pharaoh. He was to share the command from the Lord that Pharaoh was to give permission to release the Children of Israel.
Naturally, Moses feared to confront Pharaoh. Pharaoh reigned over a despotic, dictatorial regime that answered to noone, especially not an enslaved minority ethnic group. Naturally speaking, Moses could have been summarily executed, with no trial or fanfare.
As Moses presented his fears to God, God makes a startling statement. “See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh...” In other words, when Pharaoh sees you, you will appear super human, you will appear larger than life. The way I make you appear will protect you.
This statement means that God can and does alter the perception of individuals so what they see is not the way the person sees himself or is seen by others. God can take an ordinary human and make him appear as a god so God’s purposes might be accomplished. This alone is food for thought. When God wants to, He can place His instruments, which appear very ordinary in their own eyes, and cause them to make special effects or impressions.
However, God does not end the conversation there. He goes on to say, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart... (Exodus 7:3a) God had just declared He would make Moses appear super human when he walked into Pharaoh’s presence. Now he adds that with His help, Pharaoh was not going to be easily swayed with the request, in fact he would stiffen up Pharaoh’s heart so Pharaoh would not be persuaded to let Israel go.
So here we have God doing two things. He is making Moses big and influential in Pharaoh’s eyes. He also is making Pharaoh big and tough in his own eyes. The next thing we learn from Ex 7 is “...I will...multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.” God is next going to throw ten devastating plagues into the showdown of these forceful personalities.
As youth we used to philosophize the question, “What happens when an irresistible force meets and immoveable object?” The response that seemed to best answer the hypothetical question was, “You have an inconceivable catastrophe!”
In these verses in the opening of Exodus 7, we have that scenario played out. Moses appearing as a god is an irresistible force. Pharaoh, with a stubborn and obstinate heart stiffened up by a Sovereign God is an immoveable object. What will the inconceivable catastrophe be? We know it from reading these opening chapters of the book of Exodus. This conflict reaches mammoth proportions so countries far away heard and wondered about the God of Israel. Scores of generations have pondered this event.
From the way God shared His reality scene behind the natural scene, we know He could have worked things out completely opposite. He could have made Moses look like a pitifully weak senior citizen. He could have moved Pharaoh to think, “You know what, these people might well be our enemies in the next war, why not send them away, they’ll probably die in the wilderness anyway.” Put these two compromised individuals together and there would have been no history made. Israel would have simply been excused with hardly a whimper.
But no. History was going to be made. God goes on and explains the conflict that would arise and why He was orchestrating things in this manner. “But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.” (Exodus7:4) In a later scene, God told Pharaoh right to His face what He wanted “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” (Exodus 9:16 )
In our day a national health debate attracts wide attention. A key supporting figure suddenly is called into eternity. Political moods shift. An opposing party’s candidate is elected. Suddenly what was a given is very unsure. How can a major policy change slip away so easily?
In each of our lives conflicts rise and fall. Things we thought should be simple balloon out of proportion. Things we suspect will be huge issues melt away with hardly a ripple. Sometimes our own personal choices may be fingered as the clear reason why things went the way they did. At other times the connection is remote or even seems non-existent. Why?
We must bow to not only the concept of a higher power, but to the personal plans and working of Sovereign Heavenly Father. He has a kingdom. He has purposes. He is looking for humble willing vessels. He told Moses that He makes man’s mouth, even the blind and dumb serve His purposes. He uses a “chance” meeting... a written letter... a rebuke from a friend. He uses conflicting points of view, interpretations, and contrasting thoughts.
While we do not understand the purposes of Heavenly Father, knowing Heavenly Father is at work greatly mellows our intensity and frustration. In our deepest struggle, we still know things are not out of control. We do not have to fix everything. We do not need to make everyone else see our point. We can trust His heart and His hand.
“See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh” are not empty words. These are words to treasure and rest in.
~ Myerstown PA