Exodus Chapter 1
The Book of Exodus is one of the great books of the Bible. It tell us the story of the children of Israel; how they were delivered from 400 years of slavery by the power of God and turned into a nation; a nation that would be blessed because Jesus the Christ would be born among them. Exodus tells us the story of the life of Moses, a great man of faith. And Exodus tells us about the beginning of the age of the law starting with the giving of the Ten Commandments. As with all the books of the Old Testament, Exodus is filled with examples for us to follow and experiences that reveal to us the character of God. But more than anything Exodus is a book that shows us again and again that God keeps His promises.
The Bible says in Exodus chapter 1:1, “Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and His household came with Jacob. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. And Joseph died, and all his brethren and all that generation.”
There are quite a few places in the Bible where genealogies are given. The primary purpose of genealogies in the Bible is to give the human lineage of Jesus so that we might understand that as the Son of man Jesus came from Adam to die for the sins of the world. And as a descendant of King David He is king of the Jews. Of course, more important than the human lineage of Jesus is the spiritual lineage of Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God and the King of kings. The genealogies of the Bible also show us the 100% historical accuracy of the Bible. Because the Bible is truth, the Word of God, therefore the complete accuracy of the Bible should be no surprise. But for those who do not have faith in God it’s an opportunity for them to find faith.
Exodus 1:7 says, “And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.” The nation of Israel came from the physical family of Abraham. Israel is proof that God keeps His promises. Abraham lived His life by faith in God. And because of the faith of Abraham God chose Abraham to be the father of the nation from which Jesus would come. God promised Abraham in Genesis 12:2, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.”
There are two reasons that God created the nation of Israel: to bring forth the Savior of the world, and to raise up a people that would be witness of God’s truth to the rest of the world. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Jews are somehow more special than other people. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Of course in the ages before the age of grace there were certainly many privileges to being part of the nation of Israel because they are God’s chosen people and unto them were committed the oracles of God.
The Bible says in Exodus chapter 1:8-14, “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: All their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.”
For 400 years the children of Israel lived and served and died in the bonds of slavery under the cruel hand of the Egyptian Pharaohs. What a strange twist of circumstances it was for Israel. They were guided by God into Egypt to escape 7 years of famine. And now they became slaves. There are two reasons why Israel became the slaves of the Egyptians. The primary reason is that God allowed it to happen. The other reason is the fear of man. The new king who did not know Joseph did not know Joesph’s God either. And when he saw that the Hebrews had grown to a number greater than the Egyptians, he became afraid. This Pharaoh was afraid of losing the power that he had as ruler of Egypt. Most of the powerful people in the world are just like this Pharaoh. They are not courageous, noble, honest, or kind. But they are fearful men whose lives are filled with paranoias about loosing the worthless power which they possess. But all men are this way. We either have faith in God or life plagued by some kind of fear. Jesus said in Mark chapter 5:36, “be not afraid, only believe.” The fears of this ruler of Egypt turned him into a weak and wicked man who stole the life of thousands upon thousands of innocent people. Your fears may not put a nation into slavery. But your fears will steal your freedom; the freedom to live life to way God created life to be, a wonderful fellowship with Him where the temporary things of this life are enjoyed instead of the loss of such temporary things being a fear that imprisons you.
When eternity has come and the books are open and the deeds of man are judged it will probably be found that some words, crimes, and greatest wars were all a result of human fears. But God is so great and so gracious and wise that He uses even the evil deeds of men to accomplish His purposes. This is why the Bible says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God; to them who are the called according to His purposes.”
Slavery is a terrible thing. Every race of humanity has experienced slavery of some kind. All men are created in the image of God. The differences between black and white, Chinese and Russian, the differences between all nationalities are merely physical diversities: just like the difference between a person with blond hair and person with black hair or person with blue eyes and a person with green eyes. In reality all humans are related because we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. The prejudices people of the world have are people who have let strange and foolish fears fill their mind, or they have been brainwashed by the prejudice of the society around them. They have let their lives become filled with a destructive hate against their own brethren. Of course the problems of the world such as racism and slavery will never be fully solved unto more people repent of their sins to Jesus or until Christ returns to earth. But before you are tempted to think less of any man because of the color of his skin or the country from which he comes remember the Bible says in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The slavery that the Hebrews experienced was a terrible slavery. Verse 14 says their lives were made bitter with hard bondage. They served with rigor for 400 years. The story of the 400 years of slavery, which the Hebrews experienced, will always remind me just how foolish and prideful the unbelieving archeologists and scientists of the world are. These people study the history of ancient Egypt and they are amazed at the great pyramids and cities and other structures that were built. They spend their time and their money to create theories on how the Egyptians built such great buildings. It is most likely that the Hebrews built many of these structures while they were slaves in Egypt. The Bible will always be the only completely accurate source for truth whether it is historical or spiritual. But the Bible is the Word of God. And the Bible says in I John 1:5, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”
When God used Moses to free the children of Israel from the bonds of slavery there were about 6 million Hebrews. But in that previous 400 years how many lived and died never knowing freedom? Why would God allow such a suffering? Certainly God was working in the individual lives of the Hebrews to strengthen their faith in Him and teach them to learn to wait on His promises and on His timing. Certainly God also used the Hebrews who trusted in Him as witnesses to the pagan Egyptians so that the Egyptians might repent of their sins and turn to the one true living God. The Bible says in I Peter 1:7, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
God does indeed have a purpose for all things. You certainly will not face 400 years of bitter slavery in your life. But there will be trials of your faith just as the Hebrews were tried. And there will be suffering. Sometimes such things may seem extreme, unjust, and without purpose. But if you cling to the promises of God then you will emerge from the flames with a refined faith that is more precious than gold or all the riches that this world can hold.
There is one more very important spiritual lesson that is learned from the story of slavery. It is probably a lesson that God spent 400 years trying to teach the children of Israel. There is a freedom that is more important than physical freedom. It’s spiritual freedom. This kind of freedom comes from God and no man, no sin, and no devil can take it away. Jesus said in John 8:36, “If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Jesus also said in John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” There is a spiritual slavery that all men are born in. It is a slavery that has been since Adam and Eve first sinned against God: 6000 years of bitter bondage in sin. But God sent His only Son to pay the price of mankind’s redemption by dying on the cross for the sins of the world. And now there is freedom for any individual who would know the truth of the Gospel and be free from their sins. Just as God delivered the Hebrews from their bondage He will deliver you if you only repent and trust in Jesus.
The Bible goes on to say in Exodus 1:15-22, “And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, when ye do the office of a mid wife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.”
Here is another example of the great difference between fear and faith. Fear finds its roots in selfishness and godlessness. Here is another story of a King of Egypt that did acts of great evil because of fear. Fear is the black wind that drives the evil forces of man’s sinful selfishness. Just like the other Egyptian Pharaoh spoken of in Exodus Chapter 1, this ruler feared the loss of his kingdom, the loss of power that he possessed. And His fear motivated him to murder innocent and helpless little children. Herod would commit these very same sins when he was told of the birth of Christ. It’s too bad the Egyptian king did not understand that the powers that be are ordained of God. If he had, then he would not have feared losing his kingdom.
The only fear that should control a person’s actions is the fear of God. You will either fear man or you will fear God. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
A person who fears God will do what is right. You can measure your fear of the Lord by your consistency to trust in God. Of course those who do not fear God will not have the wisdom to see the blessings of doing what is right and the destructive results of doing what is wrong. Fortunately for the Hebrew children God had taught the Hebrew midwives the fear of Him. They did not obey the evil king’s commands to murder the little children because they feared God and understood the value of life. If the Hebrew midwives had feared man instead of God then they would have feared for their own lives because of the power of the king of Egypt. This is the amazing contrast between a man that fears God and one that fears other men. Humans without God are simply weak and filled with fears. Without God the Human soul will be forever trapped in the prison of its own selfishness. But those who trust in Jesus Christ will find freedom from all fears and they will find strength in the fear of God.
Isaiah chapter 8:13-14 says concerning God, “Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary.” If you have never repented of your sins and turned to Jesus, then you probably know all too well the dark whisper of fear in your mind. But with Jesus there is freedom from all fear and there is forgiveness for all sins because the Bible says concerning Jesus Christ in Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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