When they were only a few men in number, Very few, and strangers in
it. 13 And they wandered about from nation to nation, From one kingdom
to another people. 14 He permitted no man to oppress them, And He
reproved kings for their sakes: 15 "Do not touch My anointed ones, And
do My prophets no harm." 16 And He called for a famine upon the land;
He broke the whole staff of bread. 17 He sent a man before them,
Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 They afflicted his feet with
fetters, He himself was laid in irons; 19 Until the time that his word
came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him. 20 The king sent and
released him, The ruler of peoples, and set him free. 21 He made him
lord of his house And ruler over all his possessions, 22 To imprison
his princes at will, That he might teach his elders wisdom. 23 Israel
also came into Egypt; Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. 24 And
He caused His people to be very fruitful, And made them stronger than
their adversaries. 25 He turned their heart to hate His people, To
deal craftily with His servants. 26 He sent Moses His servant, And
Aaron, whom He had chosen.
What we read about here is altogether a plan. We get a
little glimpse into Gods council. How God was going to lead the people,
and this leading was suppose to be a role model for His congregation
to all times – also here tonight!
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our
instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the
Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom.15:4). And to his friend and
fellow worker Timothy: “All Scripture is inspired by God and
profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for
training in righteousness.” (2 Tim.3:16).
It is written for teaching! As God dealt with them He will
also deal with us – as God was back then, so is He now. And then we
see that it wasn’t just “a dance on roses,” to be in God’s plan. If
so, it was certainly not roses without thorns!
Joseph, who had the main role here – in an odd way sent ahead of
his own, to be a rescuer, the day the disaster came – was sold as a
bond slave of his own brothers. How painful do you think it was? “They
afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons “we read.
(v.18). He spent 7 years in an Egyptian prison whole – and why?
Because he wanted to do what was right to God, and not be led astray
in adultery with another man’s wife. 7 years! Not because of a crime –
but to do what was right to God! Funny how God rewards people, right?
But there was a plan here!
We also read about Gods peoples living
situations in this psalm: “When they were only a few men in number, Very
few, and strangers in it. And they wandered about from nation to nation,
From one kingdom to another people.” (v.12-13).
Don’t you think you can hear the word of Jesus then – this is also
about you who walk with Him now: “They are not of the world, even as I
am not of the world.” (Joh. 17:16). And: “These things I have spoken to
you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation,
but take courage; I have overcome the world." (Joh. 16:33).
Peace in Him, tribulation in the world! In their relationship with
God they have got their feet planted on a rock – in their relationship
with the world, a wavering foot. They haven’t settled down anywhere, or
in anything in this world.
But in this condition, where you always feel like a stranger, like
one who doesn’t fit in, will the Word of God still count as much today
as back then: “He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved
kings for their sakes: Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets
no harm." (v.14-15).
Many arrogant preachers (false teachers) has stolen this word from
God, for their own advantage! By this, they want to stop all questioning
about their role! Watch out! - you can end up attacking God Himself and
sin against the Holy Spirit! I guess you have heard this before? The
Word of God says quite contrary: (1
Thess. 5:21; 1 John. 4:1).
But for you who lays at Gods feet - it’s like hearing the word of
Jesus again, isn’t it? “Be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.”
And if He allowed them to be exposed for anything evil, it was a
part of a plan – something that would be to their advantage. Just like
it was for Joseph.
God was going to send a famine upon the land, as we read in our
passage: “And He called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole
staff of bread” (V.16). It was Him who did this too! This was done to
drive His people – the people of Israel – to Egypt, where He had sent a
rescuer ahead of them. God made sure that Pharao had met Joseph, and the
spirit that was in him. Now he was the greatest man in the country,
after Pharaoh himself. This was what they met when they had to flee from
Don’t you think God has a way out for you too? Don’t you think He
has a rescuer for you too, the day the need starts to drive you in a
certain direction? When sin becomes alive and perishing a reality – the
day you must say: There is nothing to live by here! There is nothing
that can keep me alive here!
But then truth is exposed! What did God
want with all of this? After a while the people ended up as bond slaves
under the Egyptians. And the more – and therefore stronger – they became,
the harder the slavery, the bigger the burdens Pharaoh – this world’s
ruler – laid upon them. And when they started talking about letting the
people of Israel to leave Egypt, the real heavy burdens came, to force
the people to kneel, empty their energy, so they had more than enough
with the day as it were, and could not manage any uproar.
This is how Satan carries on, with the person who has started to
think about salvation. He rages. And lays it out for you how hard it
will be for you, if you should think of being a Christian. All things
you have to renounce, and all things you have to bear – and keeps adding
on like this, to convince you that it is after all a lot better to
remain in Egypt, than to suddenly become a stranger in the eyes of your
But God said to Moses – and Moses he went!
You know, back then people had each their own god – and then they
valued one god up against another. It was a bit like this: My god is
bigger than your god! As you may remember from when you were a child: My
father is stronger than your father! A certain peoples condition also
witnessed about that peoples god! It's just like you can hear it from a
lot of so called Christian preachers to day!
You have to see this on the background of this, because suddenly
appears the representative for the slave people’s god and stands
before Pharaoh, the mightiest in the known world, at that time, and
demands that he lets the people go!
Can this god, who is god for this pitiful slave people be stronger
than then god of the Egyptians? That was foolishness in the eyes of the
heathens, also back then
Can that God who is hanging crucified on a tree, be stronger than
he who is ruling the whole world with his power
Yes, do ask that question right now! Now when the sky is darkening.
God’s people seems so little and weak and spread around, what gains
distinction as great in a spiritual context is mainly religiousness, and
religiousness cannot overcome the world, because it is of the world! And
the obvious world becomes more and more obstinate and rude in their
persecution of that which is of God. Ask this question: Can this go well
That’s why God has given us this picture about the deliverance from
Egypt! Because, how did it go? Did this slave people’s God manage to
deliver them? Yes, with a mighty hand, it says.
Now this deliverance from Egypt is itself a picture on salvation.
As they went through The red sea from everything that persecuted them –
we hear as in the song, about the red drops of blood that calls out from
Golgotha. The enemy cannot reach us on that side. The only way there, is
through the blood of God’s Lamb, and the enemy will not go through there.
No enemy can touch your salvation, you see, it is safely secured by
someone who no one can rob anything from.
This is what Jesus says, when He speaks about where the treasure
is: “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth
nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal”
Do you see? What you have in heaven is kept safe!
God shows us in this picture – the
deliverance from Egypt – that the power structure is not how it seems
for the natural eye. We shouldn’t look at it the way the heathens do,
because they are spiritual blind.
When Pharaoh’s big army, went out with their shiny wagons and with
a loud noise - you could surely see the dust cloud after them for a long
time - the people did never doubt that the people of God would come back
oppressed and in chains – but the result was quite different, no one
ever saw the big army ever again!
“God is still on the throne, and He remembers His own!”
There is one thing you should be aware of:
Have I entered into the kingdom of God, through these red drops of blood
that calls out from Golgotha? And no less: Do I live under these blessed
drops of blood today? In this very hour?
Well, they are once and for all shed on the heavenly altar – in the
holy place, right before the throne of God – so there shouldn’t be any
reason that you would stand on the outside of this blessing. Unless you
meen that you have found a better way!
Paul speaks of a better way – yes, not
only of a better one, but the best one: The love! And then I will let
you know where you can find it – where it is revealed: “By this the love
of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son
into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not
that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the
propitiation for our sins.” (1 John. 4:9-10).
This is the best way! God’s love – that found a way for us, lost
sinners! Do you hear the call from these drops of blood?
Holy Bible, New American
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart