Sunday, January 25, 2009

JACOB GOES TO EGYPT


The famine that brought the brothers of Joseph to Egypt to buy grain continued. Joseph invited his brothers to retrieve their father and their families and come to live in Egypt. Even though the famine would extend for several more years, Joseph would see to their welfare and make sure they had enough to eat. In Genesis 46 we find the list of the sons and grandsons of Jacob who went down to live in Egypt. Verse 27 tells us that there were seventy in all.

Many years later, when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt there would be a host of them. Estimates of the number of Israelites in the exodus vary from hundreds of thousands to over a million. As we discover in the book of Exodus, God had his hand upon Israel and they multiplied greatly in spite of the efforts of Pharaoh to crush them through slavery.

Why did God send Israel into Egypt in the first place? The fact that God sent them is indisputable. Genesis 46:3, 4, God spoke to Jacob saying, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.”

Could not God have made a great nation out of Jacob while he was living in Canaan? Perhaps some would argue that the Canaanites would destroy them when they saw them multiplying. But surely God could have protected them from the Canaanites. He had promised the land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There were too few of them to occupy the entire land. That is no problem. Again, God could have kept his hand upon them until they filled the land entirely. There was a famine in Canaan and they would have starved to death! God could have fed them. But God did not want them to intermarry with the Canaanites. They had already taken Canaanite women as wives. None of these arguments explains why God sent Israel into Egypt.

I believe God was creating a situation in which he would foreshadow redemption and salvation. The Israelites would ultimately be forced into bondage and their lives would become bitter. God would send them a deliverer in the form of Moses. Through many miracles God would free them from their slavery and bring them into the land of promise, with God as their king. He would reveal himself to an entire nation through his law. He would be their God and they would be his people.

Apart from Christ we are all in bondage to sin. We are hopelessly enslaved, unable to free ourselves from the hold of our Enemy. Only through the second Moses, Christ himself, are we wondrously set free. The miracle of redemption, the sacrifice of Jesus’ life, buys our freedom from slavery. God reveals himself to us through his grace and makes us his people and takes his place as our Heavenly Father. We are the children of God, the citizens of the kingdom of heaven.

The Israelites who were born into slavery in Egypt and died in slavery in Egypt were not aware of the marvelous picture God was painting. They labored and suffered without understanding why. But God was at work. It was his picture, not theirs. We cannot understand the mind of God. We do not know the tapestry God is weaving with our lives. And we may never know. But we profess to believe that God is sovereign and he is in control of the lives of all men, just as he was in control of Pharaoh’s life. We can be confident that he is painting a picture of redemption that will bring glory to his name!

4 Comments:

At 7:38 AM, Blogger Luis Delgado said...

Dear Pastor Dave, thanks for your comment on my blog.
I only want to emphasize that the style of my blog will always be critical to bring in some reflection to the people.
I do also with the situation of my pais.Lo invite comments I read in Spanish. You can use an Internet translator.
But I wish to use his comment as an article for my blog.
May God bless your ministry and Pastor Dave also give a promise to comment on their topics.

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger jazzycat said...

Dave,
Good points. Physical Israel redemption by God from physical bondage is a picture of Spiritual Israel's redemption from the bondage of sin.

wayne

 
At 10:48 PM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Thanks, Wayne. How is it you could say what I was trying to say in one succinct sentence? I appreciate your help there!

 
At 8:07 AM, Anonymous Sean Nemecek said...

Dave,
I am teaching Exodus for our Sunday night bible study. I believe that deleverance in Exodus is the paradigm for salvation in the rest of the bible. I am also amazed at how Exodus and Revelation interact.

 

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