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Exodus 1:1-14 The Pharaoh Who Knew not the Lord
Jan 8th, 2017
Weekly Bible Study
Art Sadlier
Categories: Commentary;Book Study

The theme of the book is redemption by blood. We see God’s love for Israel as He seeks to redeem them and give them a special place in His presence.

As we study through the scripture we discover that Israel is not the exclusive objects of God’s love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

Though God loves Israel with an intense love and has a special place and purpose for her. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33). Israel’s eternal home is the “Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.”

 We also discover that God’s love is not exclusive to Israel. God also has a great love for the church and a great purpose for the church. ““In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3). Heaven is the eternal home of the church.

Exodus 1:1-5 -Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.”

The first five verses of Exodus one reminds us of closing scenes of the previous book of Genesis.

Genesis 50:15-22 “And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.  And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.  And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.  Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”

In the book of Genesis we see the conduct of Joseph’s brother’s toward him led to their being brought down into Egypt.

There are two lessons here.

First - We see the brothers actions toward Joseph were representative of Israel’s treatment of Christ their King and redeemer.

We see Joseph as a type of Christ in his submission to the plan and purposes of God. His brothers rejected Joseph and did not regard his life. They sold him into the hands of the men of the world to become a prisoner in the land of Egypt. He was sold to the Ishmaelites and then to Potiphar who put him in irons in prison.

Notice the consequences of their actions and attitudes. They were themselves carried down into Egypt to become slaves toiling in the brick kilns. Even as it fell to Joseph they had to wait to be delivered also. Someday Israel will see the allegory and weep over their rejection of their Saviour.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).

We have this striking analogy between Israel being carried into Egypt because of their sin against Joseph, the type of Christ. Compare this to Israel’s being carried into captivity because of their rejection of Christ and their treatment of Him.

Second - We see that God was in all of this. It is God’s prerogative to bring good out of evil. Joseph expresses the purpose of God in His dealings with brothers. “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive”  (Genesis 50:20).

Why did Israel go into bondage rather than into the Promised Land. God works unceasingly in the affairs of men to glorify His name among the sons of men. His purpose is to bless men also wherever men obey His Word and to judge wherever He is rejected.

The time was not yet ripe for the purposes of God to be fulfilled regarding Israel and the Promised Land. Israel had to be chastened and corrected and prepared for the land. The time had not yet arrived when the inheritance was ready for the heirs and heirs ready for the inheritance. The iniquities of the Amorites were rising in the hills and the valleys of the Promised Land. “But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:16). The Amorites would be given opportunity exercise obedience or disobedience to God. The Lord would wait patiently even as is He is today allowing men and women to choose.

Joshua said to Israel, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve?” That sums up the story of man. God works patiently and He awaits the response of men to His working and His call to men. (Romans 1:19-20)

Today God is waiting for the iniquities of our generation to be full. That time is fast approaching and the judgment of God will fall in His time.

All of this is very instructive. There are wheels within wheels in the workings of God. His ways are past finding out. There was Potiphar’s wife, Pharaoh’s butler, Pharaoh’s dreams, Pharaoh himself, the dungeon, the throne, the chains, the royal signet, the famine. All were at His sovereign disposal. All were made instruments in the divine working.

The spiritual mind delights to consider all of this and to realize that God is all wise and in control with a glorious purpose. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

It is not always given to us to know all ways of God. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). It is enough to know God and to trust Him and then to discern what He is doing in your life and what He requires of you?

David knew this truth. “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass”… “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass” (Psalm 37:3-5, 7).

It is true that we may see the hand of Satan looming large at times but for those who trust Him, His purpose will not fail.

God’s counsels shall stand; He will do all His good pleasure. Unbelief will look on the enemy’s threats; faith will rest on the promises of God.

We need to rest in this great truth while we are passing through this evil wicked world. Faith sees behind the scenes of this world and knows the hand of God is in control. We can rest safely in this great truth.

Exodus 1:6 – “And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.”

What then? Death could not affect the counsels of God. He only waited the appointed time, the due time to fulfill His purposes. God works in this world over the generations. We need to realize that we are a small part of what God is doing.

When our faith rests on God circumstances are of no consequence.

Exodus 1:7 – “And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.”

God’s purposes are not altered by human circumstances. That is where the Lord desires that we live.

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision” (Psalm 2:2-4).

Today men are doing exactly what the Psalmist said in the above text. Tomorrow God will do exactly what the Psalmist said, “The Lord shall have them in derision.”

Look at the leaders of our world, look at the United Nations, look at governments; they are defying God and His Word. “The Lord shall have them in derision.” (Revelation6:15-16).

Exodus 1:8-10 – “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.”

All of this is the reasoning heart that has never learned to take God into its calculations. The unregenerate heart can never take God into account. The moment you introduce God all of man’s reasoning collapses as man moves in independence of Him. They may seem very wise but there wisdom becomes folly.

Today men are filled with their own wisdom and are ruling the world independently of God. As we look out on such a world we wonder why nothing men produce seems to work and why do we wonder?

Pharaoh could sum up the situation accurately, the multiplying of the people, the falling out of war, their joining with the enemy and their escape out of the land.

All of this he could put into the equation but not once did the thought come to him that God could have anything to do in the matter. Instead he reasoned without taking God into account. Our world and our leaders are constantly moving in this direction. They live and move and act as if God did not even exist, then when things go wrong some say, why would God allow such a thing to happen?

Men not only shut God out but their reasoning demands that God be kept out. Men go on in arrogance intent on building utopia that excludes even the thought of God.

Pharaoh moved in ignorance of the great foundational truth that “God Is”.

He vainly set out to prevent the increase of the people of whom God had said years before, “They shall be as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore

The most tragic thing a man can do is to act without taking God into his account. What a sad mistake for feeble men to set himself up against the eternal God. Pharaoh might as well have set his puny hand to hold back the ocean tide as to prevent the increase of those who were a part of God’s everlasting plan and purpose.

Exodus 1:11-14 – “Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.”

It will always be as such as the unregenerate go on in their ways without taking God into account. As they move against the plan and purposes of God they will, in God’s time be crushed as Pharaoh would soon find out as he drowns in the sea.

The contrast in perspective in made clear in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

We have here “the things which are seen” and “the things which are not seen.”

What were the things which were seen?

Pharaoh’s wrath, the cruel taskmaster’s lash, the affliction and burdens under the burning sun, the brick kilns and the mortar and the brick.

What were the things which were not seen?

God’s eternal purpose, His unfailing promises and the approaching promised day of Jehovah’s deliverance.

What a wonderful contrast! It is always God’s purpose that we walk by faith, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

In actual fact we are in Egypt, yet in Spirit we are in the heavenly Canaan.

Faith brings the heart into the power of the divine and unseen things. This enables us to mount above the things which are seen down here in this place where death and darkness reign.


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