The House of God: His People in Bondage

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Jacob and his family moved to Egypt to avoid starvation. They found shelter and plenty in Egypt amongst a pagan nation. Satisfied with their new surroundings they settled and slowly they forgot their purpose and their calling. As they increased in number the world pleased them and they found comfort in the world.

It might have ended there. The children of Israel were settled in a land of plenty. They were comfortable. They could worship the God of Abraham and Isaac from the  comfort of Egypt. Egypt had been the Lord’s provision to start with. Perhaps Egypt could be the promised land. The children of Israel had all that they needed or so it seemed.

It could not last. Egypt did not belong to the Lord. It never would. It was a kingdom of this world and the children of Israel were not in Egypt for the Lord’s sake. They were there for their food, for their comfort. This can work for a while but the Lord wants a household of his own, dedicated to him. His people are called out from this world and its entertainment and diversions.

The Lord’s people do not belong in the world. It draws us and it tempts us but we are not of this world. Before long the world, in the form of the rulers of Egypt, turned against the Israelites. After many years in Egypt the Israelites were no longer a small family. They had grown into a numerous people. The world, the rulers of Egypt, saw only a threat to their worldly power and position.

The Israelites might still have remembered the God of their fathers but their trust was in Egypt and the world. It was misplaced. The world is fallen and untrustworthy. When Egypt turned against the Israelites they became slaves to this world and its system. They were allowed just enough to survive. They had to work not for themselves but for the world, to keep up, to fit in, to maintain a worldly lifestyle.

Abraham and Isaac wandered but they were free men. The Israelites had lost their freedom to the world but as long as the world met their basic needs they didn’t care. They barely even noticed.

The world of Egypt was not satisfied though. The world is ruled by the law of shortage. Their is never enough so men struggle and fight to gain a larger share and to protect what they have. The world lives in fear of losing what little it owns. The Egyptians were not about to lose their status to the Israelites so they mistreated the Israelites more and more harshly until God’s people cried out to their true saviour.

Once again the Lord was patient and forgiving. The Israelites had all but forgotten him while they were comfortable and they turned back to him only because of their distress. But for the Lord it was enough that they called out. His people wanted him and he wanted them. When Jesus told the story of the prodigal son he was remembering his father’s response to the Israelites.

 

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