Saturday, August 26, 2017

Living well in the big picture

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 1:1-14

TO CHEW ON: “And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied, and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them …
And they (Egyptians) made their (Israelites) lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor” - Exodus 1:6,7,14

Our reading today continues telling the story of Jacob’s family in broad strokes. Two short verses (Exodus 1:6,7) take us through over 400 years of time: “The book of Exodus is a continuation of the Genesis account, dealing with the 430-year development of a family group of 70 into a large nation” - J.C. Tollett, study notes on Exodus, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 77.

The Israelites had, for all intents and purposes, become Egyptians. Or at least they had lived in Egypt long enough to identify that way. But God had other plans for them, plans hinted at in a promise made to Abraham centuries earlier (Genesis 15:18). And so began the discomfort of hard labor and slavery for Israel, that would eventually dislodge them permanently from Egypt.

The tricky thing about living in time is we don’t understand the times we’re in and the significance of day-to-day events as we’re living them. “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards” - Søren Kierkegaard.

Like the oppression of the Egyptians no doubt vexed and puzzled the Israelites, so many happenings in our time vex and puzzle us too. We won’t know, in the near term, the significance of the 2016 American election of Donald Trump as president of the U.S. or the recent defeat of a long-governing political party in my province. Only time will tell how current events affect history.

But we take comfort in knowing that history never gets away from God. As He declared through Isaiah:
Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’

Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also do it. - Isaiah 46:9-11 (my emphasis)

We can also, pray and trust God for wisdom to understand and live well during our short span of years on earth. Let's aspire to have the reputation of the "Sons of Issachar" in David's army who were known as those "who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do" - 1 Chronicles 12:32.


Dear God, thank You that You know the end from the beginning and will bring about the things You have purposed. Please give me insight into my time and wisdom to live well in it. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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