Read His Words Before Ours!
You probably know the story of Joseph in the Old Testament.
As a teen, he had dreams which foretold of his future position of power with all his older brothers serving him. His brothers hated him – not only because he bragged about the dreams but also because daddy, Jacob, loved Joseph more than any of the others.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to Egypt, then he was falsely accused of rape and thrown in prison. But he eventually became prime minister of Egypt. When famine struck, Jacob and the whole family moved to Egypt where there was plenty of food (thanks to Joseph’s wise management).
The Hebrew clan enjoyed the best part of the land and relative ease.
Over time, the family grew in number from 70 to 600 thousand males, plus women and children…approximately 2 million Hebrews in total!
The Pharaoh, who came into power after Joseph’s death, was fearful that this large community of foreigners in his land would call for an uprising; or, at the very least, would side with Egypt’s enemy in a war. “Under a previous administration, the Israelites had royal permission to live in the land and to work it. But here the new king of Egypt sensed in their numbers a threat to his national security and thus decided to deal ‘shrewdly’ with them (Exodus 1:10)” (www.theologyofwork.org).
Whatever the case, Pharaoh didn’t trust them…
so he enslaved them.
“There were levels of slavery in Egypt.
Some slaves worked long hours in mud pits while others were skilled carpenters, jewelers, and craftsmen. Regardless of their skill or level, all slaves were watched closely by brutal slave drivers, supervisors whose assignment was to keep the slaves working as fast as possible.
They were specialists at making a slave’s life miserable.”*
(*The Life Application Bible study notes)
This “crushing labor” and “ruthless” treatment of the Hebrews only led to their multiplication. So, Pharaoh did the only thing he could think to do:
he ordered the midwives to kill all male babies born to Hebrew women,
and infanticide was added to the mix.
I guess since the harsh working conditions weren’t killing the adults,
Pharaoh decided to eliminate the Hebrews in another way.
The Hebrew midwives disobeyed Pharaoh, feared God rather than man, and lied, saying the babies were born so quickly they couldn’t get there to carry out his order.
(Surprisingly, he bought that!)
Through their rebellion to Pharaoh and reverence for God,
Moses was spared.
Forty years later, God called Moses to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt,
when he heard their groaning and crying.
Just as Moses led the Israelites out of slavery,
God sent Jesus to lead all of us into salvation.
Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem in Judea, just a little bit south of the city of Jerusalem. He is the Son of God, fully God yet also fully man,
who was sent by God the Father to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).
He came to redeem all people from their slavery to sin,
including you and me, Sister!
Slavery doesn’t look the same to most of us as it did to the once-slaved-Israelites,
but for many of us, our stories of redemption do have similar threads as those Hebrews in Egypt.
The Hebrew people, before enslavement, enjoyed the land,
they lived well and were increasingly prosperous.
Life was good for them,
until the place intended for their delight ended up being their prison.
Similarly in our stories, things may seem good and grand as we lived it up!
We had material gain, wealth, everything we wanted….
and then something happened that made us want to get as
far away from it all as possible and into the arms of Jesus.
In my own story, it meant leaving my marriage to an adulterous husband (which was also impacting my family). After the initial shock wore off, I realized that I had begun a relationship with Jesus while I was in college, but had wandered away, so I re-committed myself to God and began a personal Bible study about love and marriage.
I couldn’t be more thankful to God for bringing me back to Himself!
God used my enslavement, to show me His freedom!
When God’s people, the Hebrews, were in an impossible situation in slavery to the Egyptians,
God heard their cry and rescued and redeemed them.
After generations of their disobedience,
God progressively revealed that His redemption and grace was intended to include
every nation, tribe, and tongue.
Jesus Christ has purchased each of us from our slave-master of sin
to give us freedom and access to a relationship with God!
If you feel like you’re a slave to sin right now, Sister,
or like you’re far from God,
just turn around.
He’s there, waiting for you to come to Him
and have a relationship that leads to life!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!