Read - Exodus 1:1-7
Message - Alan Burke
Favouritism, jealously, stupidity! They are but some of the words that may come to mind when you think of Jospeh. Maybe not when he is prime minister in Egypt but in the saga that let him to be sold into slavery. Favouritism of Jesse towards one of his sons, the jealously that it spawned as a result among his brothers and Joseph’s stupidity at telling his dreams to his bothers just fanned the flames of their hatred towards him. Yet there is one word that we must remember in the midst of it all, ‘providence’. It may not be a word that we use very often but for the believer it is a word that should give us much comfort in the midst of all that we face. Providence is the protective care of God and what we are reminded of in the story of Jospeh is that God was at work in at all, even though there were some dark days for Joseph he understood this to be the case. Joseph made this clear when his brothers were gathered before him and he told them… You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Gen 50:20).
God had brought his people to Egypt, led them their according to his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, as God was continuing his great plan of salvation. That’s what we need to remember, that these events that are now retold, take place not in some unconnected story but all relate to the work of God that began in the very beginning, when Adam and Eve first sinned, God, had been pointing his people to how one day there would be one to come to save them from their sin, the offspring of Eve, a son that would crush the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15), God’s people were look to him, knowing that he would bring his great plan of salvation to it fulfilment, for the Exodus is a continuation of that great plan of salvation, to rescue, to redeem his people from their sin though Jesus Christ.
This opening chapter of the book lay the setting for all that will follow, how the sons of Jacob came and dwelt in the land. When they entered there were a mere seventy of them or seventy five if you include the children of Ephraim and Manasseh (1:7, Acts 7:14). Seventy, seventy five if you consider the children of Ephraim and Manasseh, and when you consider the promises of God that he had given to Abraham, Issac (Gen 26:3-4), and Jacob (Gen 28:13-15) there is some way to go. After all God had promised to Abraham that he would greatly increase your numbers (Gen 17:2), that Abraham would be the father of many nations (Gen 17:4,5), he would be very fruitful, nations would come from Abraham, kings would come from Abraham (Gen 17:6). Remember what makes the promise of God to Abraham even more remarkable is that when the promise came, when Abraham was yet without an heir through Sarah, he had one son Ishmael but God was pointing to how something great was going to happen, something miraculous, for from Abraham there would come many, as numerous as the sand on the sea shore or the stars in the night (Gen 15:5, 17:1-8, 22:17).
How was this all going to happen, it was going to happen by the work of God. His great work of salvation was progressing with this population explosion in Egypt. The land was now filled with them, this is more than a hind of the miraculous, it was God beginning to fulfil his promises to Abraham, Issac and Jacob, God’s covenant promises were being fulfilled there in Egypt accordion to his purposes that would one day bring about the saviour Jesus Christ.
Providence, the protective care of God. We will think about this more in the coming week and weeks but for now remember that God is still at work, God’s works of providence are, his most holy, (Ps. 145:17) wise, (Ps. 104:24, Isa. 28:29) and powerful preserving, (Heb. 1:3) and governing all his creatures, and all their actions. (Ps. 103:19, Matt. 10:29–31) (WSC11). God by his providential care is at work, today and every day, in all that we face, in the highs and lows, even in our darkest hour.
Q50 What is required in the second commandment?
The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word. (Deut. 32:46, Matt. 28:20, Acts 2:42)