Congratulations! You are wrapping up your second week of reading BibleTogether with us. And you are beginning your second book of the Bible.

A Great Nation

You remember Genesis 12:1-3, right?

Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

The promise has been handed down from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and now to all of Jacob’s sons. These twelve sons and their descendants are literally the children of Israel. They are not yet as numerous as the stars in the sky, but the number who came to Egypt with Jacob and his sons was seventy persons. While they were in Egypt they “were fruitful and increased greatly … and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.” Truly, God is making Abraham into a great nation.

Affliction in Egypt

You may recall Genesis 15:13. Exodus 1 is the fulfillment of God’s words to Abraham.

Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.

You may have noticed in our previous readings that in every instance as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sojourn among other people there is a decision to be made. Will the leaders where they sojourn aid the people God is blessing or will they act against them. As He promised, God blesses those who bless His people and curse those who dishonor them. This is part of God’s specific promise to bring blessing to all the families of the earth.

Exodus portrays a battle between God and Pharaoh. But this new king isn’t the only pharaoh in the story. There was a pharaoh that participated alongside of God’s work for his people at the time of Joseph. That pharaoh found blessing for himself and his people. This story in Exodus did not have to be a battle between Pharaoh and God. The Pharaoh, trapped by his own hard heart, pursuit of power, and lack of acknowledgement of God as God, finds himself to be God’s enemy. Because Pharaoh schemes and fits and rages in worldly wisdom to cling to fleeting worldly power he actually finds himself increasingly trapped by his grasping and in turn he finds himself to be the direct enemy of God.

Shiphrah and Puah

Exodus is full of a huge cast of characters: Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s daughter, magicians, slave masters, hebrews and many others. And yet, very few of these characters are actually named. I find it very interesting that among the very few named people in all of Exodus Moses (who is the author of the first five books of the Bible) chose to tell us the names of these women. These are the women who saved an entire generation of Hebrew children.