Thoughts on Prayer: Living in Egypt…as promised
13 Then the Lord said to him (Abram), “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
Last week we discovered a famine sent the nation of Israel to Egypt. Jacob and his family were reunited with Joseph. Because of Joseph’s favor with Pharaoh and position in government, his family was allowed to choose where they wanted to live in Egypt. I can’t help but wonder if the promise of being slaves for 400 years wasn’t in the back of Jacob’s mind as he and his entire family were welcomed into Egypt to wait out the famine. Before Joseph’s death he gathered his brothers, the nation of Israel, around him and reaffirmed the promise of land:”…but God will surely take care of you, and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.”(Genesis 50:24)
The nation of Israel lived, grew and flourished in Egypt. Joseph passed on. His brothers passed on. All of their generation passed on. Pharaoh passed on. Time passed on…. A new king came to power in Egypt who, the Bible tells us, didn’t know Joseph. He did know how large the population of Israel was, however. Exodus 1:7 states:”…the land was filled with them.” The 70 people Jacob entered Egypt with had grown to 600,000 by this time. This fact was worrisome to him. He feared they would side against him in war and leave the land. Instead of plying them with the best Egypt had to offer as a means to keep their fidelity, he decided to work them harshly, severely and cruelly. The sons of Israel built 2 storage cities for Pharaoh. The more the sons of Israel were afflicted; the more they multiplied.
Pharaoh’s fear grew also. It increased to the point he sought out the Hebrew midwives and instructed them to kill any son birthed by the Hebrew women. (Have you heard another leader eaten up with fear give the same edict?) Thankfully, they feared God. God protected them. Undeterred, Pharaoh instructed the Egyptians to throw any Hebrew son into the Nile.
It would be from the very place of death for the Hebrew sons the long awaited deliverer of the Hebrew nation would come.
Jochebed gave birth to a beautiful male son during this time. She was able to hide his existence for 3 months. She placed her son in a water tight wicker basket in the reeds of the Nile River. Miriam, his sister, watched from a distance. It was none other than Pharaoh’s daughter who would find him and draw him from the water. She named him, Moses. Miriam was not far off, when Moses began to cry. She offered to find a nurse for the child. Pharaoh’s daughter agreed and paid Jochebed to nurse her own son. Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses. He grew up in Egypt. He was educated in their schools, customs and religion. It was during this time Moses saw one of his own, a Hebrew, being beaten. He became so enraged he secretly killed the Egyptian. Other Hebrew slaves knew of the murder. Moses became fearful and fled Egypt when he was made aware of this fact. He knew Pharaoh would kill him. Moses fled to Midian. It was at this time God heard the cry of the sons of Israel for deliverance from their bondage. God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
400 years is a LONG time to wait for the fulfillment a promise. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob weren’t alive. Several generations had passed. It wasn’t time. Time and timing are interesting concepts. There is chronological time. Where things happen in order and can be dated or categorized. Then there is timing. If you act when the time is right; that is timing. God heard the cries of the Israelites at the right time: 400 years in slavery. Jochebed seized the moment to spare her son. Pharaoh’s daughter’s timing- to be by the banks of Nile -was right on schedule to find Moses and draw him from the waters. Look in scripture for the phrase: In the fullness of time…” Record what you discover. When time and timing meet an event that is life changing happens.
Review the promises Father has given you as we have been walking out the depth, length, height, width and breadth of the Land of Father’s Love. Ask Father for wisdom and discernment to understand how He operates in time and timing in your life. Look for patterns. There may be hindrances or obstacles that occur on a regular basis which seem to cause setbacks. There may be seasons when it seems you live under an open window from heaven. Write it down. The sons of Issachar had the ability to understand the times in which they lived and knew what to do (1Chronicles 12:32). May the Lord bless you with understanding time and timing. May He give you wisdom to know where you are in time and how to respond to His timing in your life. It will be life changing. (Of course, you have to be ready for change in order to change…just a thought). Be blessed in the One who created time and has ordered it in 24 hour periods for us. Be blessed in the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Who will fulfill every one of His promises in the fullness of time…as promised.