Read - Exodus 1:8-14
Message - Alan Burke
Remember that word, ‘providence’ that we thought about on Monday, the protective care of God. Well God had led his people to Egypt according to his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, as God was continuing his great plan of salvation. While there they had increased greatly in number, no longer were there just sixty (5) but “the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them” (7). Everything seems to be going well.
But then comes a new king and things change (9). Before it the people of God were seeing God’s wonderful answering of his purposes, they were experiencing prosperity, they had grown numerous, but there is something much more ominous to come. Even though for a time Egypt had been good for the people of God while they were there it would no longer be the case. To the new king it didn’t matter what happened in the past, it didn’t matter to him who Joseph was, or his family. No longer were the people of God welcomed in the Land of Egypt, instead they were feared for how they had become too numerous (9-10). Pharaoh was shrewd ruler, proposing an ingenious political solution that would keep the threat of the Israelites at bay and economically benefit the land.
Enslave them. Slave labour allowing their own people to enjoy life on the pigs back, while at the same time solving any immigration problems that would see a people rise up and try to rebel because they would be so down trodden and oppressed that they wouldn’t have any fight in them, having their spirit crushed. The result of their enslavement was two great cities, Pithom and Rameses. The barbarism of the Egyptians towards the people of God, in how they were treated at the hands of their oppressors was as the passage makes clear ruthless, but that sanitises the stark reality for they were treated in ways that wouldn’t be allowed to be shown on television or in films today.
The people of God had gone from prospering in the Land of Egypt to being suffered and were oppressed. All of this at first glance may just seem like a terrible account of one peoples oppression of another, like that which has happened in many places across this world and continues to happen this day. Yet there is much more to it than that. For this wasn’t about civil defence, political ideals, economic stability. There in the midst of what was going on a spiritual battle that was being played out.
Pharaoh was not a ruler like our Michelle or Arlene, or Boris or Queen Elizabeth or even Kim Jong-un, Pharaoh was believed by his people to be the incarnate Son of Re the sun god, he represented the entire nation and their gods. Pharaoh as he made the people of God his slaves, it was that they would serve him and not their God, they would not be free to go to worship the Lord God, they were pharaohs and behind pharaoh was Satan!
Look though to what happened in the midst of it all, in spite of how Satan was using Pharaoh in his oppositions to God’s plans and purposes, as he sought to thwart the God’s great plan of salvation, to rescue, to redeem his people from their sin ultimately would lead to failure. He sought to wipe out the people of God in their slavery, in how they were treated, breaking their spirit so that they would die, but God continued to be with his people and more that they were oppressed the more that they multiplied and the more that they spread abroad (12). No matter how hard Satan tries to thwart the purposes of God he will always fail. God by his providential care was and is at work in what Pharaoh was doing just as today and every day, in all that we face, in the highs and lows, even in our darkest hour.
Q52 What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’ s sovereignty over us, (Ps. 95:2–3) his propriety in us, (Ps. 45:11) and the zeal he hath to his own worship. (Exod. 34:13–14)