I climb to the top, and at once, am bemused by the sight of God who appears before me in a pillar of fire. Out of His mouth billows smoke and flames. I sit on the mountain’s peak, with lightning striking all around and thunder rolling; echoing into every distance. His tongue lashes, and appears like a furnace. While I sit at his feet, I tremble at the sound of his voice. Shaking uncontrollably like I’m freezing cold, but really, I am just full of fear. I will not open my mouth until I am asked and I can barely look up because of the light blazing from God’s face.
…And we continue from the genesis, where began the life and legacy of God’s people. We move to the sons of Israel who travel to Egypt after being invited by the Pharaoh. There, Joseph has died along with his brothers and all of that generation. Despite this, the Israelites are growing in numbers. They are fruitful and eventually, they fill the entire land.
But then a new Pharaoh arises.
One who does not know Joseph and his lineage. This new Pharaoh fears the Israelites from the very beginning. He says, “the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us.” He is afraid they will become a coursing river that swells and overtakes its banks. He is frightened for his empire that they will flood the land.
So, he decides to make them into slave laborers so, he can have power over them and oppress them. He is ruthless because he fears their foreign ways and worries they will join his enemies and fight against Egypt.
Families are then torn in two, separated and forced to live in cities the Pharaoh builds. This continues the massive oppression as Pharaoh seeks to regain the power he sees the Israelites gaining.
But the more the people are oppressed, the more they multiply and spread.
This angers the Pharaoh. So again he is ruthless. He makes their lives bitter. He breaks their backs with work in the city and in the fields. But he does not stop there.
He tells the Hebrew midwives to murder all the male children once the Israelite women give birth. He hopes to destroy their heritage. Because the midwives fear God, they disobey the King of Egypt’s commands.
The Pharaoh asks why they let the children live. The midwives are cunning and say, “Hebrew women were not like Egyptian women, they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives come to them.”
Now the Pharaoh is furious. Despite his tireless efforts, the people of Israel keep growing. But again, he does not stop there.
“Every son that is born to the Hebrews shall be thrown into the Nile,” Pharaoh decrees. He is inviting the people to join his sin. He is inviting them into the subjugation of an entire people group. He is inviting them to participate in genocide. In this, sin has moved from a personal level into an entire culture. The Pharaoh, with the help of the Egyptian people, will stop at nothing to thwart this ever expanding nation. He intends to rain ruin down upon them.
Made into slaves, ground into the fields they worked, separated from their families, their sons killed. All of this at the hands of a King who did not know their people’s history and saw them as nothing more than foreigners occupying his land. The people of Israel have nothing left to do, so they cry out to God hoping He hears them.