Who Is This GodAugust 9-13
Exodus: The God Who Protects
But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them. – Exodus 1:7 (ESV)
Pastor E. Venn shared the following story: Our family flew to Texas for a speaking engagement last week. My young son listened attentively to the flight attendant’s safety demonstration. After looking at the safety card, the questions started flying . . . “Where are the emergency lights?” “Dad, what color are the lights?” “What powers the lights if the plane crashes?” “Can we see the lights if we are upside down?” “Where do the lights lead to?”
The book of Exodus is God’s exit plan for the nation of Israel out of Egypt and for His followers out of sin. The word “Exodus” is literally “the road out” or “the way out”. Exodus 1 introduces the theme of bondage in Egypt and shows the intensifying opposition to the fulfillment of God’s promises given earlier to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Alan Cole writes, “The Hebrew deliberately repeats three verbs used in Genesis 1:21, 22 which may be translated ‘were fruitful, swarmed, and became numerous. This increase was interpreted as God’s promised blessing on His creation.” Some estimate if you include wives and children, the number was probably in the range of 2 million Israelites!
How have you seen God keep His promise to protect you?
Praise God for his history of protecting His people.
Exodus: Advancing Through Affliction
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, 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.” – Exodus 1:8-10 (ESV)
In his harrowing personal account of the Holocaust, “Night,” Elie Wiesel describes the intensifying affliction that the Jews of Shiget, Transylvania, endured. First, they were herded into a ghetto. Then they were sent to concentration camps. Finally, most of them died or were executed in the camps. At each stage, hope of some kind bloomed but was soon crushed by the next brutal measure taken by the Nazis.
A similar scene is described in the first chapter of Exodus. Intensifying affliction brought on by the Egyptians brings the Israelites to the point of destruction. But that’s only part of the story. Each stage of increasing affliction is answered by God. Each attempt by the king of Egypt to rein in the Israelites is thwarted by God, who causes their numbers to increase. God will not be deterred from advancing His purposes for His people.
We may face intensifying affliction. Things may go from bad to worse. But the message of Exodus 1 is clear: God’s purposes for His people will not be thwarted. His purposes for us advance despite intensifying affliction and through intensifying affliction. From our perspective, things may go from bad to worse. We agonize in the pains of labor. But God is giving birth. (Scott Grant)
The Hebrews did not know God was behind the scenes controlling the situation, but He was. God used the king’s shrewdness to accomplish His will of getting His people out of Egypt. How has God used someone else’s ungodliness to accomplish His will in your life?
Thank God that pain is never pointless in your life. Praise Him for even redeeming the pain when we can’t see or understand how.
Exodus: God’s Math
So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. – Exodus 1:20-21 (ESV)
A young boy was hospitalized because a life-threatening condition had developed. The boy became sad during the lengthy stay. One of his school teachers asked permission from the nurse to visit the boy in his room and review grammar and math with him. When questioned by the nurse, after the lad began to improve, he said his hope had been restored. He said, “If the teacher is coming by to teach me grammar and math then I must be going to live!”
Pharaoh had created what probably felt like hopeless living conditions for the nation of Israel. But God wasn’t done doing math. Because the Israelites feared or worshipped God more than Pharaoh, God added to their numbers. For them, the choice was clear. The civil government commanded something that was clearly against God’s command. Pharaoh wanted fewer people and God said more people.
Though generally we are called to obey the government and honor civic rulers (Romans 13:1-5), we are never called to put government in the place of God. Therefore, if the government tells us to do something against God’s will, we are to obey God first. How does society put pressure on Christians today to go against God’s instructions?
Proverbs 10:27 says, “The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.” Praise God for improving the quality of our life when we come to Him.
Exodus: Our Deliverer
When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.” – Exodus 2:10 (ESV)
In Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, is ready to give up on life because he feels that everyone would be better off without him. He’s about to throw himself off a bridge and into a river. And then heaven sends him a gift – a little angel named Clarence who jumps into the river himself and screams for help, knowing that George would be inspired to save him. The plan works, and George saves Clarence. By kindling his noble instincts, Clarence begins the long process of showing George that his life is anything but a waste. Every once in a while, God sends us such gifts that kindle our noble desires to be involved with people.
From the time Moses was born, God repeatedly delivered Moses from danger in order to use Moses to deliver His people. God is the true deliverer and that deliverance will be carried out in God’s way and in God’s time. Alfred Edersheim points out that God used the very measure by which Pharaoh tried to exterminate Israel as the means which eventually led to their deliverance. If Pharaoh hadn’t commanded that the Hebrew boys be thrown into the Nile, his daughter wouldn’t have rescued Moses and he wouldn’t have been trained in all of the wisdom of Egypt (Acts 7:22), which prepared him for his calling. And without Pharaoh’s harsh treatment of the Israelites, they would have been comfortable staying in Egypt indefinitely. Why go through the hardship of displacing the Canaanites when life was sweet in Egypt?
Can you think of a time when God blessed you with a gift and it motivated you to want to bless someone else?
Thank God for the people He has used in your life to help draw you closer to God. Ask God who He wants you to help draw closer to Himself.
Exodus: God Hears
During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. – Exodus 2:23-25 (ESV)
An American Indian left the reservation to visit downtown New York. Walking down a busy street with his friend, he suddenly stopped and said, “I hear a cricket.” His friend said, “You’re crazy! There’s no way you could hear a cricket in all this noise!” The Indian persisted, “No! I hear a cricket… I’m sure of it!” His friend said, “It’s noon! There are thousands of people bustling around, cars honking, taxis squealing…I don’t believe you can hear a little cricket in all this!” The Indian listened again and walked slowly across the street where he found a large cement planter with a shrub in it. He dug beneath the leaves, and sure enough…there was a cricket!
His friend was stunned, “You’ve got amazing hearing!” But the Indian said, “No. My ears are no different from yours. It simply depends on what you’re listening to. Here, let me show you.” So he reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change — a few quarters, some dimes, nickels and pennies…and dropped it on the concrete. You guessed it… every head within a block turned! “You see what I mean? It all depends on what you’re listening for.”
God is always listening for the cry of His children. John Hannah says that “Exodus 2:24–25 is a hinge in the narrative. Suppression, slavery, and death were dominant themes in 1:1–2:23. Now deliverance and triumph will be major emphases. God in His sovereign power was ready to act in accord with His promises to deliver and preserve His people.”
God remembers you and God hears you. What is the cry of your heart today? 1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for us.”
ESV Study Bible comments that “When the Bible says that God “remembers” someone or his covenant with someone, it indicates that he is about to take action for that person’s welfare.” Praise God for acting on your behalf.