After a series of hardships, trials, severe famine and reconciliation with Joseph, he and his family are about to see the malicious unfold. As Joseph and his brothers return to Egypt, we are opening up the book of Exodus. In Exodus chapter one, we learn there is a new king who did not know Joseph. As soon as Joseph and his brothers’ passed from the scene, Egypt resented the growth of the children of Israel. The Israelites were increasing in number and through fear of being overtaken the new king (AKA Pharaoh) purposely enforced hard labor upon them, but they were still fruitful and multiplied.
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In Exodus 1:8 find the first clue that the Israelites are in captivity: “a new king arose over Egypt” that didn’t know Joseph. Was the ‘new king’ from a different nation? If so, why didn’t the Egyptians step up and protect the Israelites whose God saved them from the famine? How many generations did it take for the Egyptians to stop telling their children about the foreigner named Joseph, who was given wisdom by the One True God and was made second in command of all of Egypt that kept their ancestors from starving? We may not know the answers to these questions, but we can apply one thing in our lives: We can not afford to forget!
The second clue can be found in Exodus 1:12-14 the more the Egyptians the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. 13 Egypt enslaved the children of Israel with crushing harshness. 14 They embittered their lives with hard work, with mortar and with bricks,and every labor of the field; all their labors that they performed with them were with crushing harshness.
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The third clue comes in Exodus 1:15-17 the king of Egypt saw that oppression wasn’t working; feeling more threatened by the Israelites that the king knew tried to use fear to stop the Israelites from growing. The king command two Hebrew midwives to murder all Hebrew males born. So, he called up the midwives (Shiphrah and Puah) and told them when you deliver the Hebrew babies if it is a boy, kill it. Fear can cause us to be in a spiritual captivity, and can be as debilitating as being held captive in the physical sense. When we let fear get its foot in the door; it will come in and take up residence. Fear plagues many of our minds, but God has equipped us to be overcomers. What are you afraid of?
Just like the Israelites, we live in a time and a place whose culture, where many do not know Jesus. We are surrounded by idols of every kind, just as they were in Egypt. Lifestyles and addictions are only a few of the slave masters waiting to bear dominion over us, hardly like the slave masters ruled over the Israelites. Today there are countless temptations in our society, which will try to lead us into our own personal prisons. The temptations and their physical and emotional poisons they produce are endless. But we have the antidote; Jesus.