Monday, April 26, 2021

2021.04.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 1:1–7

Read Exodus 1:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose names are listed in the following verses (Exodus 1:1)? With whom did they come? What eleven sons are named in Exodus 1:2-4? Of whom were they descendants (Exodus 1:5)? How many of them were there? Who was where already? Who died in Exodus 1:6? Who else? But what four things does Exodus 1:7 say that the children of Israel did? What happened to the land?

Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth. This was the original command given to the one creature made in God’s image (cf. Genesis 1:28). 

But Adam sinned and died, and so did all mankind in him. Ever since then, man has been dying.

But God, Who had declared that there would be a seed of the woman who would crush the serpent’s head, later chose Abraham that in him and his seed, all the families of the earth would be blessed. God renewed this promise with Abraham’s son Isaac, and with his son Jacob. 

Jacob became an especial picture to us of God’s salvation. Literally, from the womb, he was a heel-grabber, a swindler who lived by his wits. But God put him repeatedly into distress that brought him to an end of himself, forcing Jacob to wrestle with the God Who would wrestle on Jacob’s—now Israel’s—behalf. 

Finally, the family through whom God is determined to bring the Redeemer comes to be called “the children of Israel,” as they make their move to Egypt. But this family has the same problem as those whom God will save through them: sin and death. Will sin and death stop His plan of salvation? No. “The children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.”

Sometimes, it is not merely the reality of death that discourages us; the loss of those whom the Lord has greatly used can be especially discouraging. Exodus 1:6 places Exodus 1:7 in the context of having lost a great generation. After the last 70 years in Egypt, the last 53 of them without Jacob, the loss of Joseph would be keenly felt. And it’s not just Joseph. “All his brothers.” “All that generation.”

So much has been lost. Now what will come of the children of Israel, and of the promise of a Redeemer through them? Answer: “But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.” 

God created image-bearers to be fruitful and fill His creation. God is redeeming image-bearers to be fruitful and fill His creation—and His coming redeemed creation. 

That which would become a problem for the subsequent Pharaoh is for us a reminder that God’s plan is still in full effect. Sin and death could not stop it. The loss of Joseph and the patriarchs could not stop it. We too need this lesson in our own lives, our own families, our own church(es), our own nation.

We mustn’t depend upon our ability to resist death or sin. Yes, we ought to be good stewards, and to reflect Christ’s redemptive glory as much as we may in this life. But we will struggle against sin all this life, and eventually we will die. Our hope is in God, and our Redeemer, the God-Man Who has defeated sin and death.

We mustn’t depend upon those great men that God has used in His church and in our lives. Yes, we ought to recognize and honor them, both in our interactions and also before God in gratitude to Him. Seeing how God has been pleased to use such individuals, it is even good for us to seek to be much used of Him, and to seek from Him that our children would be much used of Him. 

But, let our dependence be upon Him Himself, so that when a much-used man is taken from us, or when there does not appear to be one of such quality among us, we will yet have our great and gracious God, and our hope will rest securely upon Him!

What setbacks discourage you lately? Whose loss have you felt keenly? In Whom do you Hope?

Suggested songs: ARP146 “Praise the LORD” or TPH146 “Praise the LORD! My Soul, O Praise Him!”

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