Exodus 8:28 “Only ye shall not go very far away.”
how we could choose to respond to pharoah … (m. and l. in C.R. playing at home in Costa Rica…2010? 2009?)
Pharoah thought he was sovereign. Telling Moses exactly how far he could go, for exactly how long.
But really, Lord, he couldn’t, could he?
O, he could if one used sight and looked only at how things appeared. For in truth it appeared as if pharoah had complete power and his people were simply puppets; the Hebrews not only pharoah’s puppets, but their strings tied to any Egyptian in sight.
So pharoah could say “only ye shall not go very far away.”
And it seemed he won – for the people could not cross his boundaries any more than a wave can cross its limit.
How long did the plagues take? For however long that was, it seemed pharoah ruled absolutely. And not only that, in the beginning pharoah proved his power over Your people by adding More slavery to them – no straw used for bricks anymore. When things could get worse, they…well, they got worse. Things went south for the Hebrews pretty quickly when Moses showed up at pharoah’s court…
So – when I feel powerless in a circumstance – like with the menieres – when it says to me, with all the power and authority of a pharoah, mocking me, completely assured that what it says is reality – when disease says to a friend, “only ye shall not go very far away” – and then it seems to prove it by giving me a vertigo spell just when I had forgotten about the disease – by giving the cancer survivor an out of remission diagnosis, by giving the aged a new ache and pain – well, it seems like the authority IS theirs – and we are just their pawn.
O Lord, this is big, isn’t it? For just as You could have made pharoah into dust with a single glance – just as You could have instantly freed Your people – You and You alone knew the right time, and Your timing is perfect. You and You alone can say to us, “your times are in My hand.” Pharoah could boast and even believe and be under the illusion that his word became reality – but when You decided, it became clear who and who wasn’t acting as Ruler.
Ahh, Lord! The tomb said, “ye shall not go away“. All of Hebrews 11 is about this very thing, isn’t it? For the first half, You intervened, closing lions’ mouths, opening wombs, children’s tombs…And in the second half, freedom came later – and when the “and others” of Hebrews lost their eyes in this life, they opened them in a whole new chapter of a whole new book that was about Laughter forever , and truly, how little life was before. Now they began to live with a capital “L”, and no “little p” pharoah in sight.
Either way, it becomes obvious that the pharoahs in our lives are not the authors of our stories – as much as they want us to think they are. And that really, yes really , whether it is while we are running through the seas as it closes behind onto pharoah’s armies, whether we are watching our prodigals running away from us, or whether we are tied to the stake with flames mocking at our feet, we truly can say, “I am here NOT because you, little pharoah, ordered it so, but because He says so, and no matter what you think, and no matter how it looks like you are the pharoah with a big p, you aren’t. And although you say, “ye shall not go far away”, I shall, and will , go far away! When He says, I shall! I will!
O pharoah with a little p
you have no pow’r over me.
I know you think you really do
at times I think that of you too.
But God does ALWAYS have His way
You absolutely have no say.