Read Genesis 49 -- Exodus 1
In Today's Reading:
Jacob's prophecies; deaths of Jacob and Joseph; the Hebrews oppressed in Egypt.
After Joseph's death, the prestige the Israelites had enjoyed in Egypt gradually disappeared. A new king came to power in Egypt, who felt no obligation to the descendants of Joseph (Exodus 1:8). He was fearful of the Israelites' growing numbers and said to his administrators: Look, the Israelite people are more numerous . . . than we are! . . . they may join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country. So the Egyptians assigned taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor . . . But the more they oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites (1:9-12). The word dread expresses a mixture of hatred and fear.
Desperate for an answer to his dilemma, Pharaoh demanded of the Hebrew midwives (concerning the birth of a child) . . . If it is a son, kill him (1:15-16). Sometime after this horrifying edict was issued, a man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman . . . gave birth to a son (Moses), and . . . she hid him for three months (2:1-2). But then, fearful of being discovered, she prepared a papyrus basket for him and . . . placed the child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile (2:3).
If it had not been for Pharaoh's cruel edict, Moses would never have been rescued by Pharaoh's daughter and given all the advantages of the world's greatest empire of that time. God was preparing Moses to lead the Israelites to the promised land.
We too may face suffering where we seem to be under the control of a situation where we are as powerless as the Israelites were. It could be that death has left you without a parent or spouse. You may feel defeated following the breakup of your family or have received a terminal diagnosis from a doctor. We all will face many unforeseen sorrows.
Every Christian can say with the apostle Paul: I am persuaded that neither . . . rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers . . . nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
As the Messiah who would come through the tribe of Judah. The sceptre (right to rule) shall not depart from Judah . . . until Shiloh come (until the time the King Messiah comes to whom it belongs) (Genesis 49:10; compare Luke 3:33).
Government Official: Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (DE) · Country: Malawi (10 million) in southeastern Africa · Major languages: English and Chichewa · Religious freedom · 34% Protestant; 23% Roman Catholic; 16% Muslim; 16% animist; 4% cults · Prayer Suggestion: Magnify the Lord; exalt His Name (Psalms 34:3).
Optional Reading: Matthew 17
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:4