Summary: It is so easy to find ways apart from God to deal with "threats" such as Pharoah did and thus bully and oppress people but our hope is faith in a God who seeks to bless the nations
God’s Mighty Deliverance: The exodus experience
Today I want to introduce a new sermon series in book of Exodus. Exodus 1 actually begins where Genesis left off with the story of Joseph. This is how Genesis ended with a very clear intentional leading into the book of Exodus...
24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." 25 And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place."
26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
So Joseph is now dead and in a coffin. It was not a bad or awkward to end Genesis. You might think dead in a coffin, way to end the story eh? It is actually a very hopeful note. Got to remember Genesis started so gloriously. God was in charge. In the beginning there was only one God, a refutation of the competing worldviews polytheism, pantheism and atheism. He fashioned people in His own image, male and female were equal, long before women’s lib became fashionable, and God put them in charge of the world and blessed them. It was super awesome, God said it was very good.
But only three chapters into the story, Adam and Eve decided they wanted run the universe without God. They disobeyed God’s direct word and plunged the world into moral decay and spiritual death. The rest of the story is how God picked up the pieces to restore the universe to its original specs. But the world spiralled into violence, hate, injustice, terror, in other words sin dominated. The world was cursed! But praise God, God’s will is for the world to come back to Day 7, the Sabbath day, where the world will find rest once again and be blessed. The book of Genesis tells the story that the world has no hope in righting itself, even when God cleansed the earth through a great flood, Noah’s descendants would plunge the world back into its violent ways. Men and women were rebellious, rotten to the core.
However, out of nowhere God implemented a new strategy to crush the serpent’s head which was prophesied in Gen 3:15. He turned His eye to Abraham. He would make his descendants into a unique nation, not only that but a great nation and bless them so that all peoples of the world, everyone would be blessed by God. This was the special covenant promise made by God for the world’s benefit and the glory of His name. Through the imperfect lives of the patriarchs of faith, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob God would engineer a rescue plan in a world that cannot save itself. A taste of that is seen in how God rescued all of Israel from the ravages of the great famine that lasted seven years through Joseph a descendant of Abraham, and it saved many lives. So it was a hopeful note, Joseph’ story did not end badly. It pointed to hope, that God did not abandon a world dominated by sin but indeed is working out His rescue plan, the saving of many lives.
The question now is this - how will God carry out His covenant to bless the world especially in a world filled with new threats and terrors living in a foreign land,Egypt? Twice Joseph said in v.24,25 that “God will surely come to your aid” says Joe. In other words, he is calling attention to the fact that God will continue to work on behalf of His people. By faith Joseph spoke of God’s mighty deliverance, preparing the way for the great exodus experience of the people of Israel. Why would God do that? It’d be because of the covenant, the promised oath he made to Abraham Isaac and Jacob (v.24).
Joe knew that the God who blessed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs of faith, in book of Genesis will keep His word. The lives of patriarchs demonstrate God will not abandon His chosen people even in the face of diverse threats as outlined in Genesis through the dangers and threats that the patriarchs faced. God’s promise, His covenant, will always be found true. Consequently Joseph trusted God’s covenant word without reservation that he ordered the sons of Israel to promise to take his bones to the Promise Land when the mighty deliverance comes (Gen 50:25).
The obvious thing we learn from Genesis is God has no interest in destroying or damning the world to hell. It is a distortion of God’s word to say that He wanted suffering and death or confine humanity to misery. Remember He wanted the people He made on the sixth day to enjoy the 7th day, a day that has no evening and no morning, a day that lasts forever with God for the glory of God. It is a complete lie to say that God wants us to have second best or worst. It was always His pleasure to give us His best, the world was perfect. That’s why the word blessed is use many times to describe God’s action towards men and women.