Part 1 – Shadows of the Kingdom, Chapter 6 – A Nation Emerges
Fullness of time
[Bible references: Genesis 15:16; Exodus 2-4; 7-11; Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:1-14]
The emerging story of the chosen people of God becoming a nation started slowly with Abraham, with one child of the promise, Isaac, who had two children, only one through whom the promise would come, Jacob. Finally, Jacob had thirteen children. But it would take time for that family to grow into a size that could be called a nation – and that took a couple hundred more years – in which time the “sin of the Amorites would reach their full measure.”
Although the Bible does not specifically mention it, there may have been other things that God was waiting to happen such as the development of the Israelite community and the consequent interaction of the Israelite community with the Egyptian community during the Israelite captivity. God allowed events to gradually unfold until “the fullness of time” came for God to orchestrate a dramatic release of the Israelite community. This event would serve as a foreshadowing of another event, the spiritual release of all peoples from slavery to sin.
So it was, that in the fullness of time, when the sin of the Amorites reached its full measure, Yahweh called Moses to release the enslaved Israelites from Egypt to bring Israel back to the Promised Land.
Discipline, Miracles, and Death
[Bible references: Genesis 15:13-14. Exodus 7-11; 12:31-36; 13:17-22; 16; 17:1-7; 20; 32; Numbers 13-14]
There were the ten plagues that God brought upon the Egyptian captors to show the Pharoah that Yahweh was not just a local God in Canaan but that His power extended over all creation, even in the land of the Egyptian gods. In the process, the Pharoah’s own heart continued to harden against Yahweh to the point where God would seal the Pharoah’s fate and further harden the Pharoah’s heart. In the end, it took the killing of the firstborn of Egyptian families, including the family of the Pharoah to not only convince the Pharaoh to let people of Israel go, but the people of Egypt also supplied the people of Israel with great wealth as they left, with some Egyptians joining the people of Israel in their flight.
Then there was the miracles of the pillars of cloud and fire, which would continue until the nation entered the Promised Land, and the miracle which let Israel cross the Red Sea on dry land followed by the drowning of the Egyptian army. The pattern of punishing a nation that was used to discipline the people of Israel would be repeated throughout Biblical history.
Once on their way, the Israelites experienced more miracles, the mountain enshrouded in a cloud where Yahweh talked with Moses and delivered the Commandments and other rules, manna and quail falling from the sky, springs of water in the desert. Despite seeing all those miracles, Israel wasn’t ready to have Yahweh lead them into the Promised Land to face the obstacles there and so God had them encamp in the wilderness for 40 years until all the adults who refused to trust Yahweh died. So many deaths must have happened, but scripture barely mentions them. Here we will see, not for the last time, which seeing miracles not only did not change hearts but that all our hearts seem predisposed to turn away from God.
 cp. Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10; see also White, James Emery. “Is God a Moral Monster? The Slaughter of the Canaanites” Church&Culture 22 Oct 2020 http://www.churchandculture.org/blog/2020/10/22/is-god-a-moral-monster
 Ex: Egypt (Genesis 15:13-14). Babylon (Isaiah 13, 21,23), Assyria (Isaiah 10, 14; Zephaniah 2)
Often, when we are younger, we think we know everything. But most of the time, we discover over time that we need maturing – to grow in wisdom – a process that takes time and experience. What things have you learned through time and experience?
Read Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:3-14. We do not have God’s perspective. We don’t know why God waited so long after the time of Adam and Eve before Messiah came – the first time. We don’t know why God is waiting to return. Not with all the pain and suffering we see around us. What hints do these passages provide for us?
We discover in the Exodus narrative, that being able to see and to live in the midst of miracles, was not sufficient to change the hearts of the people. What does that say about us?
Read Exodus 8-10. In the narrative of the 10 plagues, several times we are told that Pharoah hardened his heart, but then there came a time when Yahweh reinforced that trajectory and Yahweh hardened the Pharoah’s heart. What kind of warning might that be?