Notes on the Exodus (8)

“Exposing the Exodus”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Things Worse Better Before Better (Chapter 1 Verses 8-12)

Israel now find themselves in a new situation in Egypt. A new government, with the hardship levels upped, much more severe. This of course dramatises the needs of the people in the minds of the readers of the Exodus, something needs to be done. The intensity created is not coincidental. We are deliberately presented with a very dramatic sequence. It’s a book about deliverance, it’s the outworking of the drama of redemption. But darkness and conviction must needs proceed rescue. The affliction of the people must be seen of course, proximately, in a very close human context. But the ultimate reason for it? The sovereign purpose is God’s. It is in the light of the divine revelation we seek the deeper and divine purpose. For it is only as we consider the latter that we begin to understand and find significance in the sufferings of Israel. And of course, this also applies to our own circumstances today, whatever they may be. The proximate factor here is a new king in Egypt, a new administration.

Joseph’s wise administration which saved the nation in crisis, and was inspired by faith, is long gone. A cold wind blows now in Egypt. Now Israel are seen as a danger, politically, economically. But there is no mention of God. We must not assume that people in affliction will turn to God, it is not always the case. It may in fact harden them even more. However, it does happen, but it is the exception rather than the rule. This new legislator v8, understood in Egyptian terms is a new dynasty. The verb know is taken to mean he had no experience of Joseph, or of his administration. Joseph is long gone, there is no visible trace of his work. There is radical, drastic change here. It is more than just one king replacing another, it is consequential. This new dynasty sees itself as having no obligation to respect, or even inform themselves of the past. There is a contemporary parallel with our own post-Christian era in the West. It is here in Britain as though the gospel had never been.  Irreligious, dissolution in moral standards, uncleanness and deep-seated corruption at every level in society. A church saturated with unbelief, denials of just about every tenet of Christian truth, worship that would grace every and any degenerate rock concert (Psalm 36:1). Preaching that wouldn’t convince you to get out of bed, let alone flee the wrath to come, and that’s the church. Was there a resurgence of nationalism in Egypt? But we remind ourselves governments, rulers are all of the Lord’s doing (Daniel 4:35). God knows what he is doing, he fulfils his purpose (Acts 15:18). Whatever, the justified shall live (Habakkuk (2:4). Even though things may get worse before they get better (Habakkuk 3:17).

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)

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