Exodus

I was 16 year old the first time I went to summer camp. I didn't want to go, but by the end of the week, I didn't want to come home. It was an amazing experience, and I wanted to stay there forever. Peter, James, and John had a similar experience when Jesus took them up on the mountain to meet with Elijah and Moses. Peter offered to pitch a few tents so they could linger a little longer. 

That might be what happened to Israel when they went to Egypt to escape famine in Canaan. Seventy Israelites went to Egypt and liked it there. In fact, they prospered there...and never left (kinda like the in-laws who come for a visit and eventually move into the spare room). At first, the Egyptians welcomed them, but after hundreds of years and the Hebrew population boom, the Pharaoh's began resenting then fearing then hating their presence. Their resentment eventually led to genocide. [You can read about that in Exodus 1.]

This part of the story of Israel doesn't get told much. Why did Israel get stuck in Egypt for 430 years? Maybe it was easier to stay than go. 

They got stuck. Egyptian life was so much better than where they had come from. While in Egypt, they had no enemies to contend with, and they prospered there in a strong economy. It was easier for them to carve out a life in Egypt than fight their way back across the desert to reclaim Canaan. We get stuck, too, bogged down by circumstances and crisis and careers. Sometimes we are so focused on surviving that we lose sight of thriving. It's hard to move forward. It's easier to stay put. 

The enemy always tries to cut us off from the promise. Pharaoh didn't invent infanticide. The male child was always under threat in scripture, particularly those who carry the image of God as people of the Covenant. Satan wants to devour those who belong to God so that he can cut off the Covenant. That's exactly what was happening when Pharaoh ordered the death of all Hebrew boys. 

Whereas Genesis ends in crisis, Exodus begins with promise! Genesis tells us how we got into this mess; Exodus tells us how God rescues us. In Exodus, God sets us free!

Here's the message of the mess in Exodus chapter one: God saves anyhow. Israel got into their mess because they desired where they were more than where they were meant to be. They got bogged down and enslaved by the Egyptian lifestyle, eventually to be enslaved by Pharaoh himself. And it was killing them. 

But God saved them anyhow.

It's what He does.

[Psalm 40:1-11]