Egypt embraced Joseph like a son. When Egypt honored God's chosen people, God blessed them. Even during seven years of world wide famine, they are powerful and blessed. This reminds me of our Nation. We have been blessed by God while much of the world has experienced very difficult times. When Egypt turns against God's chosen people they are judged. In Exodus 3:20, God declares, "So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians". Historically, God's people always grow and multiply the most through seasons of persecution. Exodus 1:12 "But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread." In Acts, the early church grows rapidly under intense persecution. In our lifetime, this is happening in communist China. God gets excited about responding to injustice against His people.
In America, Christians have peace and freedom to worship, but we are experiencing fewer conversions to our faith than other persecuted parts of the world. Today we are looking at Exodus 8:22-10:23. This is a fascinating story about Egypt and the children of Israel, during a time of slavey. Israel has now been living in Egypt for over 400 years. Jacob and his 12 sons have grown into a clan of over two million people. That's a big family tree. Here are 3 general details from todays reading:
1. God doesn't remove His people, before pouring out His judgment on Egypt. 2. Initially it gets worse before it gets better for the children of Israel. 3. Although the children of Israel are still in Egypt, they're protected from God's judgments.
None of the plagues enter the Israelites homes in Goshen.
Exodus 9:26 "All of the life stock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died."
The big question that people always ask from Exodus is: Why does God continue to harden Pharaoh's heart? Does Pharaoh have any choice in the matter? Numerous times Pharaoh concedes to release God's people, but then God hardens Pharaoh's heart and he changes his mind. In Exodus 5:2 Pharaoh says, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go?"
Who is the Lord? That's an interesting question.
God goes to extravagant measures to answer Pharaoh's question. Pharaoh was the king of the greatest power on the face of the earth. He was not going to yield or bend his knee. So God reveals His power by inflicting Egypt with many plagues and Pharaoh discovers who God is. When God wants your attention, He knows how to get it. In Exodus 8:10, Moses tells Pharaoh, "It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God." There is no one like our God. He is supreme to every power, authority and ruler in all the universe. God not only wants Pharaoh's attention, but He also wants the attention of His people. God wants the children of Israel to see and understand that God alone is their deliverer. If Pharaoh had conceded easily, Israel may have concluded that Pharaoh had delivered them.
Sometimes we wonder why God allows our situations to become so difficult. God wants us to see and understand that when He delivers us, it was not our own brilliance, or luck, or even someone else's help. The most important thing we can learn in life is that our help comes from God and Him alone. To God, be all the glory. It's in the times of turbulence that we come to understand that we are all at the mercy of God almighty. Jesus tells us in John 16:33 "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
There has never been a better time to draw close to Jesus. He is our help, and He is our deliverer. I'll leave you with this verse from 2 Chronicles, 2 Chr 7:14 "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."