We start our journey out of Egypt today! Exodus starts by giving us a reminder of Genesis. I pray you were able to join us as we traveled through Genesis in November. If not refresh your memory by reading the last chapter about Joseph and his brothers.
Our Exodus Challenge starts with reading Exodus 1 and 2.
Joseph and his brothers are reconciled in Egypt…where they live happily ever after ..until a new King comes on the scene. One who cared nothing about Joseph and his family. One who feared that the Israelites were becoming too numerous, so he forced hard labor upon them. (Exodus 1: 8-11). They were pushed into the heavy toil of bondage..
Bondage, something we have all experienced…perhaps not many physically , but spiritually and mentally. Feeling stagnated, lost, stuck, incomplete! When you look at Israel’s bondage, the cause, purpose and outcome can teach us a valuable lesson in our own lives. Lets look at some important aspects…
Egypt –Egypt oozed power, wealth and control, similar to the world and the lust and sin, we experience daily. This was a place that God called his people out from… so that they would be separate for Him. The same applies today.
Pharaoh – The Pharaoh had absolute control over Egypt, and was even worshiped as a god by his subjects. The actions of Pharaoh, in stubbornly refusing to allow God’s people to leave Egypt shows us a picture of satan – the ‘god of this world’ One who exercises his power and control to prevent those called today from leaving his worldly system and coming to God.
Israel – Here we have God’s people who were called to come out of Egypt. Their experience gives us an illustration of God’s ‘called out’ ones today, the church.
Bondage – As the time of Israel’s deliverance grew closer, the bondage and slavery that Egypt enforced over them increased. Often right before our deliverance, our burden and awareness of sin increases. We become aware of what is keeping us bond and separated from God. We then make the decision to cry out to God for deliverance!
Many people do not realize that God was in control of the hardship that Israel went through. He had a purpose behind his workings. Just like with Israel, he has a purpose behind every trial and tribulation we go through.
God’s purpose for Egypt – In Genesis 15:13-16 God said to Abraham ‘…Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions… In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
God allowed Israel’s bondage to increase because He was determined to judge Egypt for its years of repeated sin. Never forget that God’s judgement is always perfect! So many times, one of the reasons God allows our burdens to increase is to judge the “Egypt” in our lives. Sometimes before we are completely saved, the burden of sin will increase so that when we come to Him, we can part completely with our worldly ways. It often takes a heartfelt hurt or disappointment to get our attention. One that keeps us from falling prey to that same temptation over and over again.
God’s purpose for Israel Reveal the true character of Egypt – God wanted to reveal to Israel exactly what Egypt was like. You see, the beginning of Israel’s stay in Egypt, while Joseph ruled, was quite prosperous for the Israelite people. They had it pretty good. Now while this may have occurred for a season, God longed for a separated people for Himself and so He allowed the bondage in Egypt to increase so that they would see the true nature of Egypt, and in doing so, separate themselves from the Egyptians. So many Christians cannot see the harm that worldliness can have upon their Christian life. Its always a trap! You slip back to the world and things start off nice, like Israel in Egypt, but its never how it ends up. God often has to reveal the true colors, pull the covers off some things for our own protection…often requiring trials and tribulations to come along.
Draw Israel to God – This is always the end result that God desires out of any trial we go through. In Exodus 2:23-25 ‘And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.’
When do you cry out to God, when do you acknowledge Him? Sometimes things are going so well in our lives that we forget about God. It often takes a difficulty before we truly cry out to God and learn to trust in Him!
Why did God allow the bondage to be so bad? Why did He allow Pharaoh to resist His own people with such stubbornness?
The answer? So that God could be glorified! So that God may display His awesome power in delivering His people and so that all the nations who looked on would marvel and know that the God of Israel is the one true God!
In all the burdens and difficulties we go through in this life, God has this same plan for us! Our testimony, our story can be shown and shared with those around us, so that all may know the God we serve!
Although you may never fully understand all that happens. We can still rest assured that God is still at work and has a purpose for everything he does!
There is a valuable lesson in oppression, how difficult it may be. As we go through the process, we must be committed to growing through the process!
Learning the valuable lessons, and making a conscious effort not to return to the bondage, God has set us free from!
Be blessed on this beautiful Monday!