Week Seven: Day 4

    February 22, 2024 | Be God's Light

    The Israelites are Oppressed
    in Egypt

    Scripture: Exodus 1(NIV)

    1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.

    6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7 but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.

    8 Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. 9 “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. 10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”

    11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.

    15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”

    19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”

    20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

    22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”


    Three hundred years had passed since the time of Joseph and seventy of his family members were living peacefully in Egypt. By the time of Exodus 1, there were perhaps a million or more Israelites living in Egypt. The current Pharaoh was worried that the Hebrew population might revolt. So he turned them into slaves. Maybe that would curtail the Hebrew population growth.

    But the plan didn’t work. They continued to multiply and spread. So Pharaoh ratcheted up the harsh labor and treated them ruthlessly. Then he came up with the ultimate plan to slow Hebrew population growth. Kill all the newborn baby boys. Moses was spared, and ended up leading his people out of bondage into freedom. We’ll explore this more deeply in tomorrow’s devotion.

    Over a thousand years later, another king in another land came up with a similar strategy to stop baby Jesus from becoming the king of the Jews. Paranoid King Herod ordered the execution of all the baby boys age two and under in Bethlehem (see Matthew 2:13-18). Jesus was spared, and led people out of spiritual bondage into true freedom.

    It’s amazing to see God at work even when others are bent on manipulating and terrorizing others to get their own way. In Isaiah 55:9 God says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Sometimes evil prevails for a period of time. Horrible things are done by horrible people. But God is far above even the most powerful people on earth.

    What are some of the things happening in your community, nation or world that are disturbing? Do you believe that God is far above the forces at play? Take time to offer these to the Lord, trusting that His ways and thoughts are above any human ways and thoughts.

    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)


    I Don't Know Joseph

    You come to me expecting some kind of favor
    You say we have a mutual acquaintance
    You want me to remember someone
    I never met I tell you,
    I don't know Joseph

    You come to me thinking we are friends
    You say I owe you for what I received
    You want me to share what
    I've worked so hard to achieve, I tell you,
    I don't know Joseph

    You come to me again and again with familiarity
    You say our partnership was divinely appointed
    You want privilege, well,
    I don't think so...I tell you,
    I don't know Joseph

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