Tomorrow – Proverbs 27:1

I was reading an article in the magazine “Israel My Glory” when I was reminded of something in the conflict between Moses and Pharaoh, King of Egypt. To be more precise, the conflict was between Jehovah and the gods of Egypt. Like all human beings, but perhaps to a greater degree, Pharaoh believed himself to be one of the gods. He thought that he should be in control of tomorrow’s events. Please turn to Exodus 8:1 – “And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs: And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants. Verse 8 – “Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD. And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: WHEN shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only? And he said, TO MORROW. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God.”
Notice two things – the frogs were sent and then removed in order, “that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord our God.” The second thing is that Pharaoh said to Moses, “Do it tomorrow.” Apparently, Pharaoh was hoping that his Egyptian priests might have been able to remove the problem without the intervention of Israel’s God. And here is the thing: Tomorrow is another day. If not today, maybe tomorrow we can be our own god.
I am not going to say that the Lord reacted to Pharaoh’s “tomorrow” idea, but He did begin to employ it. Go to verse 20 – “And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people: TO MORROW shall this sign be. And the LORD did so.” Why did the Lord give Pharaoh the night to think about the next plague? That is my theme for this evening.
Now look at verse 28 which took place on the day of the swarms – “And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me. And Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will intreat the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, TO MORROW: but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD. And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.” Aren’t we witnessing a battle of wills – between Jehovah and Pharaoh. And isn’t one of the battlefields in this conflict – “tomorrow?”
Exodus 9:1 – “Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel. And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, TO MORROW the LORD shall do this thing in the land. And the LORD did that thing on the MORROW, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.”
Exodus 9:13 – “And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.” Verse 18 – “Behold, TO MORROW about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now. Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.”
Exodus 10:3 – “And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, TO MORROW will I bring the locusts into thy coast: And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.”
At first Pharaoh agreed to the Lord’s terms, but then he rebelled once again. Verse 12 – “The LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left. And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.”
Again I ask you: Why did God give Pharaoh those tomorrows?
Whatever the answer is, remember that you have just about as many tomorrows as the King/god of Egypt. I think the Lord gave Pharaoh those tomorrows, to teach us all an important lesson. God didn’t tell the man that in a week’s time He would send the next plague – it was always just one day. We have only one day – one day at a time – and IF there is a tomorrow, there will only be one and it will come by the grace of God. A poet named Young once wrote – “In human hearts what bolder thought can rise than man’s presumption on tomorrow’s dawn?” The oft quoted Mr. Colton added: “Tomorrow! It is a period nowhere to be found in all the hoary registers of time.” Tomorrow is a phantom; it doesn’t exist; you can’t find a single reference to it in the pages of history. And to add one more anonymous quote: “The fact is this, time flies so fast, that e’er we’ve time to say “Tomorrow’s come,” presto! Behold! “Tomorrow” proves to be “today.” Everyone dreams, or worries, about tomorrow, but only one Being is King in tomorrow – Jehovah God.
Nothing proves our lack of personal sovereignty than tomorrow does. James tells us – “Go to now, ye that say, To day or TO MORROW we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” In contrast to our impotence, nothing proves God’s power and sovereignty than His control over tomorrow. God told Pharaoh that judgment was coming tomorrow – and it came – like clockwork. James goes on, “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
The Lord Jesus “spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
What was God’s will for Egypt and her self-appointed god-king? Consider this: Pharaoh had a guarantee of several individual tomorrows because God guaranteed judgment – tomorrow. The man was assured that he would wake up the morning after talking to Moses the day before, because God essentially said, “You shall see another judgment – TOMORROW.”
Unlike the gods of the heathens – unlike ourselves – Jehovah is the great “I am.”
Before Moses began to witness the battle between Jehovah and the gods of Egypt, he was wondering how he would approach the faithless people of Israel who were living so beaten down by their captors. Exodus 3:13 – “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” In the Hebrew language, 3 times the Lord called himself “Yawheh” or “Jehovah” – translated with – “I AM.” The God of Israel – that is – the one true and living God over all the earth – is boundless and timeless. He is already present in tomorrow, just as He is here with us in today. And He is the sovereign God over both days. He decides how this day will end and how tomorrow will begin. Sinful human beings are constantly trying to re-write history, whitewashing evil events, highlighting some things today while trying to forget them a hundred years later. And man thinks that he can do the same with tomorrow as well, but he has no control over the future.
During the few days of his battle with the Lord, Pharaoh had a choice to make as he lay his head down on the royal pillow. He could admit that he was NOT god and that Jehovah is, or he could wake up the next morning and try to assert his will over God’s will. That is what this conflict is all about – “to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth” – Exodus 8:22. Pharaoh could surrender to the Lord and obey, or he could continue in his rebellion.
Brethren, that is what each and every tomorrow offers us – any of us. We can submit to the Lord’s sovereignty, or we can continue to make our feeble claims to His throne. We don’t have to be kings or pharaohs; we don’t have to have foolish people bowing down to us, to picture ourselves as if we are our own gods.
Godhood is something which comes naturally to us in our fallen nature. Acts 12:21 – “Upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.” Herod and his wicked family were living in rebellion against the Lord and against His Christ. But there came a day when this Herod didn’t have another tomorrow – he woke up dead. He found that he was not god.
Herod, Pharaoh, and you and I have several choices when thinking about tomorrow.
We can accept the obvious and admit that we have no control over our futures, or we can stubbornly push on with our agenda, pretending that we are sovereign over every day.
The Bible clearly teaches that we should prepare for the future. We recently looked at the Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31, where we noted that she was praised for her plans and preparing her family for tomorrow’s snow storm. Among many other scriptures Proverbs tells us to “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”
God’s sovereignty invites human planning, preparation and participation. But that invitation comes with personal accountability and a demand for submission to God’s will. In other words, planning has its limitations. Proverbs 19:21 says, “There are many devices (ie. thoughts, plans) in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, THAT shall stand.” Proverbs 16:9 adds – “A man’s heart deviseth this way; (but) the LORD directeth his steps.” And again, there are the words of James– “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain…. But what ye ought to say is, “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
Consider a bit more deeply the well-know verse with which we started this message. “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” “May bring forth” is the Hebrew word “yalad,” and it is so rendered that way 25 times. But nearly 400 times it is “begat,” “bear” or “born.” It is talking about a birth. We know that tomorrow is coming, just as an expecting mother knows she will soon give birth. We may prepare a nursery, buy a cradle, stock baby supplies, but there is so much we don’t know about that baby. We may induce labor; we may have a caesarean delivery, we may do jumping jacks in the halls of the hospital, but so very, very much about that birth must simply left to our great God.
If and when our hearts do relinquish control of tomorrow, we again have two choices – We can pillow our heads in fear of what is unknown to us, or we can rest in the assurance that our sovereign God will be there in the morning to welcome us. Some of God’s plagues on Egypt fell upon both the just and the unjust – Israel suffered equally with the Egyptians. But as the plagues intensified, the Lord put a hedge around Israel, and she was spared. So on the night before that next judgment, people had those two choices to which I referred. Egypt could, and should have, had a poor night, fearful of tomorrow’s disaster, because of Pharaoh’s stubborn resistence against God. But the Israelites could have, and should have, slept peacefully – full of faith in their sovereign God. Yet, how many of God’s people were as fearful as the Devil’s folk? How many Christians are today?
You and I have that same choices – even though we haven’t been warned of tomorrow’s trials. We haven’t been warned of anything specific, but will there be a problem or two tomorrow? Most likely. Whether we think we know what to expect or we don’t, we do know that the Lord – the great “I Am” – is already there in tomorrow awaiting us. We can proceed with faith in our Saviour’s love and wisdom, or we can choose to fear the unknown. God told Paul in regard to his tomorrow, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” And Jeremiah said, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
We can proceed into tomorrow with faith – or we can fear. We can cling to our own innate desire to be kings of tomorrow, or we can surrender to the true King. The choice is ours – the choice is yours.