Lay this world aside for a while and join me in the Pew as we rediscover God’s Great Road Trip. During more than 200 years, while Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived at liberty, the Hebrews increased slowly; only about seventy persons went down into Egypt. The Book of Exodus is the record of how God rescued his people, Israel, from the cruel oppression of slavery in Egypt. The end of the book of Genesis reads that at the invitation of Joseph who was a son of Jacob, Jacob’s family to come to Egypt. Joseph had attained a degree of power there and sought to bring them to Egypt to avoid the famine. Here in Egypt even though they were under cruel bondage, they became a large nation. A quick profile will show us that at the end of Genesis they went down to Egypt as a free people and they prospered and grew in number. They did so well in their new environment that the people of Egypt grew to fear them and sought to control them by enslaving them. The opening chapter of Exodus tells how the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians. We often do what I call a surface read.
The words resonate in our minds but we don’t always go beyond the words. What do I mean by that? Consider an old man’s reasoning…The Bible is like good western wear…never goes out of style. The bible relates to places and things even in our day. People are oppressed, enslaved, genocide is still a problem in certain parts of the world and ethnic cleansing still occurs. The story of the Exodus is about a people willing to flee the oppression they live under, to take a dangerous journey on the way to a better place. It doesn’t stop there. In Exodus we are introduced to the God we met in Genesis, the creator of life, he who made humanity in his own image. Here begins the story of a God who has heard his people’s cry…and comes to rescue them from their oppressive circumstances…this life that is threatening the very blessings of the life he has created. This chapter relates to the coming together of the children of Israel into a church and a nation. Exodus, the departure from Egypt and Egyptian bondage as the fulfilling of several promises and prophecies to Abraham respecting his seed, and shadows the state of the church in the wilderness of this world, until her arrival at the heavenly Canaan, an eternal rest.
I plan to look at a few verses at a time in the hope that I can encourage you to read this wonderful book of a remarkable God, his people and a Road Trip to salvation. We will start in chapter 1, verses 8-14. It is hard to imagine but we must consider the fact that the place where we are so happy could soon become the very place of our affliction. The people did well because Joseph was so well loved but with his death things started to change. It is a fact that after a man dies the best of his services to his fellow man are soon forgotten. So it was with the Egyptians toward Joseph and his people. We have stated that the Egyptians feared the growth of the Israelites and of course there is the sin of envy, they resented the Jews prosperity. The desire to be free escalated as the punishments increased because of the fear the Egyptians had of the growing numbers of the Jews. Funny thing took place here, the more the Egyptians punished the Jews the Egyptians became more annoyed and frustrated with their efforts and the Jews. It is at that point…verses 15-22 that the Egyptians tried to destroy Israel by the murder of their children. They had no pity on the Jews and resented the obvious fact that these people were the recipient’s of an uncommon blessing. The enemy attempted to destroy the church in its infant state, they moved quickly to stifle any hope of objection to their deed, they moved before it had a chance to become a matter of the heart among other Egyptians. It was a matter of pure and simple genocide. Those who are free of sin should cry out loudly to the Lord for his saving grace that even in this day such things continue to happen.
A quick overview of chapter 2…. Moses is born, (1-4) He is found, by Pharaoh’s daughter who takes him in and raises him. (5-10) Then in his early manhood Moses slays an Egyptian, and flees to Midian. (11-15) There Moses marries the daughter of Jethro. (16-22) It is next followed by the news that God hears the Israelites cries of oppression.(23-25) What can we learn if we go beyond the words? The very first thing is that God is always ahead of the game so to speak. As the Pharaoh’s cruelty increased a deliverer is born…Moses. All through time men have planed ways to destroy the church… our God is always preparing for its salvation. In Hebrews 11:23 God is already preparing a way for the people’s deliverer.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
In verses 5-10 we read that our faith in God will lift us above the burden of fear…we can accomplish much with God as our guide.
When the baby Moses lie alone in an ark of bulrushes by the rivers edge God watched over him. When we seem most neglected and forlorn, God is present with us. As he lay there watched by his sister along comes the Pharaoh’s daughter…call it luck if you want but those of faith would call it a divine act. No one else could have the power and wherewithal to have got this done. She even brought his mother in to nurse him. So what do we see here? God rules, God is in charge and in God’s time there will always be a way. In these next verses 11-15 we see a man’s faith in action. In Exodus 2:11 Moses sees for himself the cruelty of the Egyptians to the Hebrews. It puts forth the consideration that the future actions of Moses were faith driven. He leaves behind the honors, wealth, and pleasures of his rank among the Egyptians. In these next verses we see that faith in God overcomes the world. By the grace of God he was a partaker of faith in Christ, which overcomes the world. He was willing, not only to risk all, but to suffer for his sake; being assured that Israel were the people of God.
There are some facts that different commentaries views question the killing of the Egyptian beating a Hebrew as others view it as a special warrant from Heaven. There was also the attempt of Moses to settle a dispute between two Hebrews. Beyond the words here is a lesson for the church today. There are many theological debates a questions of doctrine that divide and weaken the church today. As a church and a Christian community we must be on guard against those who profess faith and are easily angered or frustrated when their ways are challenged. Because he saw an injustice and sought to stop it and reached out to seek a reconciliation between his Hebrew brethren …Moses was forced to flee to Midian. From this point on verses 23-25 there is an awaking of the people of Israel, the bondage in Egypt continued but the murdering of the infant children stoped. They began to think of God in the mist of their problems which usually leads to a closer relationship with God and strengthens their desire for deliverance. God never forgets his covenants, he looked upon the Jews and considered the merits of their cries of despair. I could write much more but it is sufficient to know that God’s eyes are fixed upon the people of Israel and to simply leave it at this verse….
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
This brings us to the end of the first two chapters of Exodus. Thank you for joining me in the Pew…Join me next week as we return to this amazing Road Trip.
Life is Good