Didactics—Assignment 7
Exodus 1:1-14
God is faithful to His people in all circumstances
Published April 15th, 2019; Updated April 15th, 2019
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Main point summary
Main point summary
God blesses His people under oppression
Exodus 1:1-14
a These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household:
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,
Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
All the descendants of Jacob were b seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt.
Then c Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation.
d But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly;
they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong,
so that the land was filled with them.
Now there arose a new king over Egypt,
e who did not know Joseph.
And he said to his people,
“Behold, f the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us.
g Come, h let us deal shrewdly with them,
lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”
Therefore they set taskmasters over them i to afflict them with heavy j burdens. They built for Pharaoh k store cities, Pithom and l Raamses.
But the more they were oppressed,
the more they multiplied
and the more they spread abroad.
And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.
So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel m work as slaves
and n made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.
God's blessings for foreigners in severe circumstances In the last chapter of Genesis we read that people of Israel moved from Canaan to Goshen and stayed there for 430 years. Before the story of redemption took it's place in Exodus, we should remember that this family lived by themselves. They traveled as a family, lived separately from other nations around them and worshiped God, who appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God moved them to Egypt with a purpose to rescue His chosen people from upcoming famine by placing Joseph, one of the patriarch, in Egyptian government. This is important history point in life of the Israelite because from nomadic way of life the settled down in pagan country. Now they do not live by themselves as before. They have government, which has authority over them. Goshem is very good and productive land. But it is not promised one by God. It belongs to Egypt, not to people of Israel and verses from 1 to 8 reminds us that they are immigrants in this country. Immigrants who do not live separately from Egyptians like a republic or some sort of independent district. They are dependent and they are under oppression. Verses 1-4 mirrors Genesis 46:8 which gives us important information about continuation of the story from Genesis to Exodus. By this genealogy we can see how God cares for His people. They are not forgotten. They are blessed as God promised to Abraham Genesis 12:1-3. Another sign of these divine blessing would be their obedience to God's command in Genesis 1:27-28. Even thought all twelve brothers were dead, their decedents continued to live and grow. They had God's command to fill the earth. They had God's promise. This story shows us that obedience is a sign of God's blessing. Why would God give such command at the very beginning? Why it is important to be created in God's image so we find it at the first chapters of the Bible? The answer is in the word "image". It takes meaning from the Hebrew word "tselem" which means representative figure, especially idol. God basically created idols. But for what purpose? So that man and woman would represent Him on earth. We are like a shadow of God over the earth. In Egypt and any other pagan country in order to mark territory as your dominion, people would put their idols - images, sculptures which represented their gods and its powers. But God, Yahweh is not other god of some land. He is a ruler over all His creation and He desired to make man and no other imagery as His representative. As more people on earth than more God's representatives it has. Than more God's glory and power is displayed. This truth was crucial for people of Israel in Egypt. God's people among pagans. Light in the dark. This is also important today for contemporary believers. Some people, even in church think that children are burdensome. They steal your time, dreams, privacy. Child free movement is growing extremely fast. In our country government cares about animals in the zoos more than of orphans. People are so ready to take homeless animals and protect their rights rather than protect the most sacred right of human life. Russia was the first country that legalized abortion in 1920 and it is still available in hospitals. Christians should be an example of how strong families are important in view of this first commandment in Genesis 1. More people in country means more people God can save. We do not know for sure how many of them. But we know that it is a good will of God, His pleasure that we fill the earth so everyone would see His presence, especially among Christians. Strong Christian families bring strong witness of Christ to the lost. In the book of Numbers, Deuteronomy we see blessing to the whole nation as well as punishment. If all nation obey God - God blesses it, If not - God punishes the sin. They are not blessings for individuals, so whenever nation go astray from God it suffers - righteous people with wicked ones. If you think about culture and environment where you live and you want to change it for God's glory - have good and strong family, raise children and take care of their spiritual growth. Another point in this story lies in genealogy. Do you remember biographies stories of 12 brothers? Joseph was favorite son of Jacob which irritated other eleven so they sold him to slavery out of jealousy and envy. Eventually Joseph grew up to the high position in authority but his brothers stayed as shepherds. We can't call them heroes or men of a great and pious example. Their history was full of betrayal, violence, treachery. Their father was also a liar. Judah had relationship with his daughter-in-law. All of these facts point out that they are all ordinary sinners and mortals. But they were God's chosen sinners and mortals. Whatever evil they have done or planned, God turned it for their good Gen. 50:20 as He is the one who fully committed to everlasting covenant to His people. This truth reminds us and gives hope, that from ancient time up to today God is still for and with us in all circumstances. Even in suffering He blesses us in His Son Jesus Christ Eph. 1:3-10 and gives everything necessary for life and godliness 2 Peter 1:3 Along with God's blessing we observe that people of Israel suffered from hard toil. Their job description was to build store cities (v. 11). Even thought they were legal immigrants (Pharaoh officially invited Joseph's brothers and father to live in Goshem) after Pharaohs death they had to work as slaves. More than that their occupation was not Civil engineering, but shepherding. Israelite supposed to take care of flocks. Instead they did not fulfill their job title, they did not do regular job as other people did or may be other immigrants, but because of their high population and fear before them Egyptians put upon them hard task. South part of Russia is very attractive to immigrants from Near East countries: Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan. Most people who move here are illegal immigrants. Some of them go for a season to make provision to their families. We have all sorts of jokes about this people, their accent, cultural differences and lack of education. Moreover lots of them are Muslims. During summer, people hire these workers because it is cheaper and usually they work well. But attitude toward them is not polite. They are treated as "low" people with no rights. Something similar as Pharaoh treated people of Israel in Egypt. But Christians must have different attitude. For us it is a great opportunity to preach the Gospel. If you ever thought about short mission trip in Near East and did not have money or time for it - here is a chance! Near East comes next door to your house. God's people can and should be the light and salt to these people, who escaped their dark world so now you could bring the Light of the Gospel and true God. Both implications from this passage brings us to application - who is God to His people? We are sinners as sons of Jacob. We all have wicked desires in our hearts and minds. We are people who wrestles with God and His will, which brings us to inability to fulfill and obey His commands. This is why we need Jesus, who took our inequities upon Himself on the cross Isaiah 53:5. He delivered us from oppressive slavery of sin. He is Redeeming God in burning bush, who is able and mighty to lead His people out of wickedness and futility of sin. As God saves His people from Egypt for His own glory Ps. 106:7,8, so He does today Eph. 1:11-12 with everyone who put his trust in Him and Him alone. We should remain faithful and obeying in any circumstance in our life. If you can have family - have a family. If you have foreign people around you-reach them with Gospel and not with jokes. Whatever good you can do in the glory of God with Jesus Christ -may our hands and hearts be ready to do it!
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.