It’s amazing to me to consider that Genesis is done. I have made a personal copy of one of the most powerful and influential books ever written. All 50 chapters word-for-word. Now we enter a new era. It is a time of re-revelation; a time of hope, struggle, inspiration, and new life (revival).
Four-Hundred years have passed since the close of Genesis. The Israelites have gone from blessed and honored guests to mistreated and abused slaves. The Pharaoh who knew and loved Joseph and insisted that the Israelites had to stay there has long since died and been forgotten. Since then the Egyptians have become concerned with how blessed the Israelites have been, and how quickly they are growing.
The Israelites are here residing on their land and overrunning them like rats in the sewer. The Egyptians realize that if they don’t do something about this “Hebrew problem” soon, it’ll be too late. So a “wise” Pharaoh decides that it’s time to turn the table on these Israelite invaders. He begins by hiring them. He uses them for cheap labor. Pharaoh even goes down to help work in the trenches. He takes his clean robe off and becomes one of the men; doing the work of the masses.
However, what has started out as hard work for a decent wage becomes sweatshop work, then eventually slavery under whips and cruel taskmasters. The Israelites are toiling and dying under the abuse and under the expectation of their daily quota. So, they begin crying out for help from the God of their fathers.
This is the God that they know only from their history; the stories passed down of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob / Israel and their covenants with Him. The Israelites are surrounded by the many gods of the Egyptians, each one with a name, a face, and a purpose. Yet their God seems to have none of those things. Yet in order to worship Him properly, the Israelites need to know these things. Is He one of the gods of the Egyptians? How about one of the Baals from a neighboring nation? Maybe he’s Moloch of the Ammonites?
How do you serve a God that you do not know? How do you cry out to Him? How do you appease Him when He is angry at you for some unknown transgression and therefore allowing you to be mistreated, beaten, and killed, and He doesn’t appear to be doing anything about it? What do you do!?!
That’s the backdrop of this book. The Israelites don’t realize that this is part of a plan much bigger than they are. A plan with a story that is about to play out for all of history to see. Their Exodus is about to begin…
In the meantime, what does this say about us? How are we treating those who are sojourning in our land? …those who have left their homes due to famine, troubles, and a desire for a better life? Do we treat them with contempt because they don’t speak very good English? Do we kick them out and tell them “We don’t want your kind here”? Do we put them into sweatshops, one step above slavery; sometimes not even a step above? Do we fear them like the Egyptians did, or do we embrace them? What is God’s plan?