Deliverance from Egypt has caught my attention and drawn me in the past few days. I love when I feel stirred to dive in and dig deeper into a story that I feel I already know pretty well, because I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the Lord to blow my mind once again.
I read with my children last night in Exodus 1 of the growth of the family of Israel into a mighty nation. Jacob had brought his family to live in Egypt near Joseph in the land of Goshen; however, years went by and a new Pharaoh rose to power. This new king had no knowledge of Joseph, and apparently no special reason to favor Joseph's family.
He was threatened by this group of people who had grown to be so mighty in the land, so he determined to oppress them. The bondage in Egypt had begun.
I enjoy seeing what the Lord can teach my kids and myself through each portion of the Word, and one of the things that seemed to stand out was this beautiful verse:
"But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel."
The Lord had told Abraham years earlier that his promised descendants would be in bondage in another nation for 400 years. The Lord sent them there on purpose. Why didn't He allow them to grow into a nation from within Canaan, the promised land? Why did they have to go to a land where they would be afflicted and oppressed?
I don't dare to think that I perfectly understand the Lord's ways, but I do feel that He showed me something personally a few years ago that applies here. Perhaps if you are called to be a light, He places you in darkness to prepare and develop that calling. If you are called to be a well to give refreshing living water to others, perhaps He places you in a dry place to prepare and develop that dependence on the water of His Word within you. If you are called to be the chosen people of God, the display of His unlimited power and glory...perhaps He positions you under afflicting and oppressing circumstances to set the stage for His deliverance through you.
Jesus heard His Father's voice saying that He was pleased with Him, then He was immediately sent into the wilderness to endure temptation. Why do we think that our growth and development will take place in a palace of pleasure? Choose to bear even more fruit despite the oppression of the enemy. Choose to look at your circumstances and say, "The more I am afflicted, the more I will multiply and grow." I want to be a threat to the enemy...wherever the Lord desires to place me for training.
Father, Your way is perfect. Don't let me question the circumstances You choose for raising me up into what You have called me to be and do. May Your character be developed within me in every situation. In Jesus' Name. Amen.