Passage: Exodus 1:1-22
Speaker: Steve Hands
Series: Coming Home – A Journey Through Exodus
Born In Egypt
Sometimes we forget that our lives neither start on Page 1 nor end with “The End.” Our lives are part of a larger story that God is writing; we start in the middle of a story that continues even after our lives end. The book of Exodus helps the people of God get their bearings in God’s bigger story, and chapter 1 shows us that we belong to God’s people and promises despite opposition, so we fear God and overcome. As we begin our series on “Coming Home,” we will see how we belong in this story of Exodus.
First, we belong to God’s people and promises(Exod 1:1–7). Exodus begins with…names. These names summarize the story so far in Genesis, a story of the people of God multiplying in the land and then moving to Egypt. This is the story of the people of God, a story that all those who believe in Jesus are grafted into (cf. Rom 11:24). And we belong to this story and these people. Yet the heroes in the story are not these individuals, even great names like Joseph; God is fulfilling his promises through his people as they “were fruitful and increased greatly” and “multiplied and grew exceedingly strong” (Exod 1:7). This fulfills the promise and command of Genesis 1:28 as God’s people are fruitful and multiplying greatly, even though they are still in the land of Egypt. This, then, summarizes the story until this point.
Yet we belong to God’s people and promises despite opposition(Exod 1:8–14). Although Joseph’s rule brought peace for the people in Egypt, his passing leads to a new king who did not know Joseph and oppressed the people. The Egyptians fear the people of Israel (1:12), so they oppress them and ruthlessly make them work as slaves. This opposition is not simply against the people but the purposes of God; ironically their attempts to oppress them backfire as “the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad” (1:12). The purposes of God will prevail even in the face of great opposition.
Since we belong to God’s people and promises despite opposition, we fear God and overcome (Exod 1:15–22). Unlike the unnamed powerful king of Egypt, the lowly Hebrew midwives are named Shiphrah and Puah (1:15). Unlike the Egyptians who fear people (1:12), the midwives fear God (1:17) and overcome the opposition that they face, disobeying the command of the king of Egypt instead. As a result God deals well with the midwives and the people continue to multiply, and life prevails. Similarly as we realize that we belong to the people of God and His promises, then we fear God and overcome. We will prevail.
So what? We must remember whose we are! Recently I was in the hospital, reminding a dear saint struggling to breathe whose she was. Because she belonged to the people of God, she could overcome her fear of the circumstance and sickness and meditate on God’s promises. Although she struggled to breathe physically, she could breathe in the breath of God who breathes his promises on us (2 Tim 3:16). And we can overcome because of the power of God’s promises. May we overcome not because of who we are but whose we are. As we belong to the people of God and His promises, we fear God and overcome.