Part 1 – Shadows of the Kingdom, Chapter 6 – A Nation Emerges
Process is important
[Bible references: Genesis 15:12-21; Exodus 1:1-22]
After Joseph and the Pharaoh who knew him died, the growing nation of Israel became enslaved in the land of Egypt just as it had been foretold to Abraham. There are various questions that surrounded the captivity of Israel in Egypt:
- When there was a drought, why didn’t Yahweh provide for the Israelites in Canaan instead of having them go to Egypt?
- If they needed to be in Egypt, why did they need to be enslaved instead of just living there as guests?
We know that Yahweh told Abraham that a great nation would come from him and that they would be given the land of Canaan to live in. But why the side-trip into Egypt and why the slavery? The only reason given to Abraham was that “the sin of the Amorites was not yet reached its full measure.”
The reason given to Abraham for being in Egypt follows a general pattern. Although God occasionally supernaturally intervenes in the course of events, it seems that God most often allows natural, normal processes to take place, whether they be physical, psychological, sociological etc. We see that process in living things – plants, and animals – as they grow through specific physical processes. Regarding, the great flood in Noah’s time, that only occurred after evil gradually, through normal psychological and sociological processes, eventually reached a particular threshold.
 Natural, physical processes are so well fixed and so well understood that they have become known as scientific laws.
Joseph’s discipline involved finding God in the midst of difficult circumstances and discovering how God could use him there. Are there any difficult circumstances you struggle with? Have you found God at work in your life in those circumstances?
Read Genesis 15:12-21; Exodus 1:1-22. We often don’t know the reasons for the difficult circumstances in life. How might Abram’s dream explain why God originally provided hospitality and refuge in Egypt but then allowed Israel to be enslaved?