The Lord has the pages of history and the plans for our lives in His sovereign control. Through blessings and hardships, His Word is true and His promises sure. Join us as we launch the interactive expound Bible study, with a look at Exodus chapter one, where we'll examine the people, their prosperity, and the pharaoh's problem.
Beginning in the brickyards of Egypt and ending in the tabernacle filled with God's presence, the book of Exodus chronicles the deliverance of God's people from Egypt and records the end of their oppression under Pharaoh. It also provides an account of the beginning of a prophecy fulfilled: God promised Abraham descendants beyond number, and on the pages of Exodus we see Israel become a great nation.
In this verse-by-verse study, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth look at Moses, the ten plagues, the ten commandments, the desert wanderings, the construction of the tabernacle, and more. As we study, we'll see the grace of God, witness the glory of the Lord, and a catch a glimpse of Israel's coming Savior.
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Keywords: Oppression, sovereignty, Exodus, pharaoh, Moses, fear, midwives, civil disobedience,
Hebrew terms: va elleh shemoth- and these are names
Figures referenced: John Harvard
Publications referenced: "Muslim Strategy Aims for Rule of Islam in Europe," by Garth George. The New Zealand Herald (Auckland), August 18, 2005
Cross References: Genesis 12:2; Genesis 15:5; Genesis 15:16; Exodus 1:9; Deuteronomy 18:15-18; Daniel 4; John 3:3; John 10:3; Acts 4:5; Romans 5:14; Romans 8:28; Romans 9:17; Romans 13:1; Hebrews 3:2-3
Keywords: Oppression, sovereignty, Exodus, pharaoh, Moses, fear, midwives, civil disobedience,
Continue our way through the Bible. Exodus Chapter 1 -- why don't we pray first?
Father, we are your people. We present ourselves before you tonight as the living sacrifice. We understand, Lord, that your Word is alive and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword. And we submit ourselves to the truths that we discover in it. And it's not about the technology, it's not about the music, it's not about the sights, it's really about hearts that meet with the living God and commune with you over the truth of your word.
Thank you that you have spoken, that you're a God who communicates from heaven to earth. And as we continue the story of redemption in the Book of Exodus, I pray that our hearts would be excited week-by-week as we develop that knowledge and an increased hunger for you. In Jesus name, Amen.
The Book of Genesis was about creation. It was all about beginnings. The beginning of the heaven and the earth, the beginning of sin, the beginning of God's plan to eradicate sin to redemption, the beginning of a nation, the beginning of a family, the beginning of God's plan through the person of Abraham and then Isaac and then Jacob and then Joseph. So it was all about creation. The book of Exodus is all about redemption. That's the central theme, deliverance and redemption.
If you think back, Genesis opens up with creation. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. So Genesis begins with creation but it closes with a coffin. The last verse of Genesis is about Joseph being out in his coffin. Death has entered because of sin, but God's plan continues. Three hundred and fifty years after the close of Genesis, after the events in the last chapter of Genesis, 350 years later to 400 years is where we come tonight to Exodus Chapter 1.
The Book of Exodus covers about 40 years in time span but from our vantage point, we're dealing with a document that's 3400 years old. It's old. It's an old book. How many of you think that's old, 3,400 years? Yeah, that's old. And so here's a question, why are we studying an old document? I mean, it's an Old Testament Book. First of all, and aren't we New Testament believers, so why do we bother even studying the Old Testament verse-by-verse? Isn't it great to go through the gospels and -- oh yeah, mention a few Psalms, but why study the book of Exodus if it's that old?
First of all, because it's God's word. And second of all, it's tied to the first, it's profitable. Paul in 1 Corinthians Chapter 10 speaks about Moses and the Exodus and the children of Israel and all the things that happened in a summary form. And then he says this, "These things were written beforehand for our admonition upon whom the ends of the age have come." "What happened then --", says Paul way back in Exodus, "--was written and preserved for us today." In other words, what happened 3400 years ago is as relevant for us today as it was back then. Yes, we're removed by time, but not by meaning and not by principle and not by power. These things were written for our admonition. So what we discover is the Bible including Exodus, which has a lot of history in it. It's much more than history. It's as someone well put it and we've heard of many times, it's not history, it's His story, His story of redemption, His story of, the story that God gave to Adam and Eve that through a woman, a child would be born. The seed of the woman would conquer Satan and his kingdom.
And then that was passed on from Adam and Eve all the way down through Abraham as he looked forward to the coming messiah. And God said that God would bless the world through someone that would come from the family of Abraham and that is speaking of Jesus Christ. So, all of that, to bring us to the very first word of the Book of Exodus, what does it say on your Bible? It says "Now". It says now, these are the names. But the Hebrew word is the word "Vah". That's how it begins, "Vah".
And that is literally end. Not now, but end. I like that. And these are the names. In other words, it's the continuation of a story. What happened to Genesis is part one and as it continues 350 years later, the message of salvation communicated Adam, Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph continues now and these are the names. In fact, that story will continue throughout the Old Testament pointing toward the new, pointing to Christ. Jesus will come the first time to pay for sins, go back into heaven. We're waiting for his second coming where he'll reign over the earth and that story will not end until you and I are in heaven. That's the last chapter of our lives, Heaven. But the story is continuing here in this book of Exodus. So Vah, or now, or literally end.
It begins in Hebrew by saying "Ve-ele Shemot". That's how the book begins. And these are the names, "Ve-ele Shemot". And that's why the ancient rabbi's used to call the Book of Exodus the book on names because we have a list of the names of the sons of Jacob who came out of Canaan and made their way with their families during a time of famine to the land of Egypt.
Exodus is actually a Latin word. It comes from the Greek but it's a Latin word "exo-hodos" from the Greek which means "escape" or "way out" or if you like, "the exit". The children of Israel started out as shepherds but they become slaves 350 years later. And it's the story of how they made their way out, their exit. How they exited a time of bondage and came to the land that God had for them. Now, here's the overarching theme, it's deliverance, as I mentioned. It's deliverance, or redemption. How a group of slaves cried out for a deliverer and God sent them Moses and brought them out of the land of Egypt into a land he had promised them way back in Genesis, the land of Canaan.
But there are other themes besides redemption. Let me just give you a few. Besides the overarching theme of redemption, the book is about sacrifice, Sacrifice. In Chapter 12, you will be introduces to the lamb slain, as the blood of the lamb is put over the lentils and door post of every Hebrew dwelling and the Death Angel will pass over them in that great deliverance. The priesthood is consecrated by sacrifice. Also a sacrificial system will be inaugurated whereby man can approach God. Man can be right with God through these mediatory sacrifices. So the whole book is, yes, about redemption, but also about sacrifice.
The book is also about ethics. When you get to Chapter 20, you'll get to the ten -- what? Commandments. The then big words, the ten biggies that God has for culture. But beyond that, Chapters 21, 22, and 23, it's laws of how to get along with each other in society and various other laws through the book. In fact, our modern Jurisprudence system in western civilization borrows heavily from the laws given through Moses. So it's about ethics. It's also a book about the priesthood. We'll be introduced to a group of priests who will stand between men and God and offer for man and sacrifices so man can be right with God.
And that priesthood theme is very important because it's anticipatory of another priest, we know him as Jesus, called in the New Testament "Our Great High Priest" and the complementary book is the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, where Jesus is called our great high priest. There's another theme and then we'll move on. The theme of the prophet. The predominant figure in the Book of Exodus is Moses. He's also the author, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the first five books; the Torah, the Pentateuch, Moses is the author.
He's the predominant figure. But he's also the first prophet. In fact, in Deuteronomy 18, Moses makes a prediction whereby he points with himself to Christ in the future. In Deuteronomy 18, Moses says, "The Lord, your God, will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brethren. Him you shall hear." He is speaking of the future leader who would come and he is simply a type of that prophet. So maybe this is helpful. In the book of Romans, Paul portrays Jesus Christ as the second Adam or the last Adam.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews portrays Christ as the second Moses, or the last Moses. So there's a correlation between their ministry and the typology. Chapter 1 is the story of oppression. It sets the scene for the deliverance because everybody would ask, "What's the big deal?" "Why the death angel?" "Why the plagues in Egypt?" Chapter 1 will set the scene for us as it tells is how Israel came to need a deliverer. And that's because of oppression, a little bit of history might help.
When Joseph entered Egypt -- I mentioned this in Genesis but we don't always remember everything, I don't even. When he entered Egypt, he entered under an Egyptian dynasty called the Hyksos Dynasty, H-Y-K-S-O-S, Hyksos. The Hyksos Dynasty were a group of shepherds, outsiders, who came to conquer Egypt. They were not indigenous Egyptians, they were not native Egyptians. They conquered it and they were very favorable towards shepherds and toward outsiders. That's how Joseph could be promoted to such a high level of leadership as the prime minister.
That was the 17th Egyptian dynasty. But soon after, already in the 18th dynasty, the indigenous Egyptians had taken that rulership back from the Hyksos dynasty and they were now in charge and they were very unfavorable toward outsiders and that sets the scene for us here. Now, I'm going to personalize something before we jump right in. Every one of us has had a Genesis, a beginning, right? We've been born. Here we are. We're breathing. We've been born. Not every one of us has had an Exodus, a deliverance from the bondage of sin. We've been born once but we haven't been born again. You've had a Genesis but you haven't had an Exodus. You're born and you're here and you had a beginning and you're at the stage of life but you've never been delivered out by God's grace from the bondage of sin. That's redemption.
And that's why Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh if flesh, but that which is born of the spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I say unto you, you must be born again." Born again, born twice. Now, I've heard people say, "What does it really matter? You've got Catholics, you got Protestants and then you've got that little sect of believers called the 'Born Againers.'" I've heard it described that way. "Well, I'm a Christian. I'm just not a Born Again Christian." I've had people tell me that. And I say, "Then you're not a Christian." Because Jesus said, "Unless you're born again, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
It might not matter much now you say. It's not true, but you might say that, but there will come a time when everything hinges upon that. And the only way a person can enjoy fellowship with God forever is by the second birth because we are all born and we're all going to die. But if you've been Born Again, Jesus said, "He is the resurrection and the life" -- we'll cover that Sunday –- "Whoever believes in me will never die."
So here's a little axiom to remember. If you're born once, you'll die twice. If you're born twice, you'll die once. If you're born once physically and you don't receive Christ, then you'll die physically, guaranteed. And unless the Lord comes back, which would be a good thing. But you will die once and you'll die spiritually eternally. That's twice. But if you're born again, born once physically, but born by the Spirit of God regenerated by faith in Jesus Christ, you'll only die once. You'll never die in an eternal separation from him.
So, it's great that you've had a Genesis in your own personal life. But make sure that there's also an Exodus, a time of deliverance from the bondage of sin. Well, Chapter 1 is divided sort of into three categories. It's a short Chapter, so we'll make it through. People, prosperity, problem. That's how it's divided. There are people, and you'll see lots and lots of people. And they're very prosperous. That's the second, prosperity. God blesses them, they multiply. And because of that, there's a problem. Now, those three elements happen to unfortunately have been repeated in many cultures throughout history wherever Jews live. People, prosperity, problems. I want to touch a little bit upon that tonight.
Verse one, now, these are the names. Finally Verse One, these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt. Each man and his household came with Jacob. Now, as the list of people begins, we begin with Leah, remember that first wife of Jacob? Leah and Rachelle. Leah's six sons are mentioned first, in their birth order from Ruben to Zebulun. Ruben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
And notice -- then it says ", and Benjamin." Benjamin was not a son of Leah. Benjamin was the second born son of Rachelle. Now, Joseph was the first born, he's not mentioned of Rachelle. And why isn't he mentioned? Because he's already there in Egypt. He was already there before they got there. No need to list him. That was obvious; they came because he allowed them to come. So Benjamin is mentioned. Then Napthali, Gad, and Asher, all those who were descendants of Jacob were 70 persons for Joseph was in Egypt already.
Question, why were the children of Israel in Egypt to begin with? Why didn't God just give to Abraham like He promised that He'll give him land, right? He said, "I'm going to give you this real estate for you and your generations to come." Why didn't He bypass Egypt? Why did God let them go down into Egypt? He predicted this even before it happened and then He sent them out of Egypt in this great deliverance. Why Egypt? For two reasons; number one, he wanted to prepare his people for the land. He wanted to prepare the people for the land. There were only 70 people. He brought them to Egypt, a place where -- because Joseph was in charge, they would be well treated, well respected, and they would flourish, they would grow in numbers, they could multiply.
Egypt was like an incubator, a national incubator, an incubator, safe and warm. It's very warm down in Egypt. You can be outside like, all the time. It was safe and warm and like an incubator, they could flourish and they could grow in numbers. And so that's the first reason, to prepare them for the Promised Land.
Reason number two, God had to prepare the Promised Land for them. I want you to jog your memory and think way back to Genesis Chapter 15, when God reiterates the promise that He's going to give Abraham and his children's, children's children a land and they're going to blessed and they're going to prosper. But then god throws something in. He goes, "Because the inequity of the Amorites has not yet been completed."
In other words, God is saying, "I will wait 400 years before I judge the Amorites, the Canaanites, the parasites, the termites, the turn off the lights " all those people that lived in the land of Canaan. How many of them -- 400 years? "I'm going to give them 400 years. That land has to prepare for you." In other words, God wouldn't just eradicate a people and displace a people out a piece of real estate. God would give them 400 years to repent.
Now, I don't know about you, but I think 400 years is showing a lot of patience. God would wait 400 years before he ultimately judges a nation. Now, we're just a little over 200 years and God's been pretty patient for us. Just to show you how patient God is, he waits 400 years until finally the Lord says, "These people are so wicked and like a rabid dog, they are not only destroying themselves but they're infecting everybody else around them. The best thing for them as well as anybody else is to exterminate and eradicate them."
That's the only thing that can be done. But He waits 400 years before they get displaced and taken out by the people of Israel. So that's why they're in the land of Egypt. What I want you notice is the book begins with names. These are the names. It's not -- here's how many people, here's the numbers. It's not a book of numbers, it's not a book of considerations -– what do I want to say -- demographic categories. It's a book of names. Their names are written.
Now, to us when we read names in the Bible it's like, "Oh, these are so hard. Why read the names? We wouldn't care about the names." But if you're name was in that list you'd care. So I always like to read names whenever I can pronounce them and these are pretty obviously important names. But do you remember what Jesus said? He said the good shepherd calls his sheep by name and he leads them out. So these groups of very distressed people are being called out by God from Egypt into the Promised Land.
Verse 6 brings us to our second category and that is prosperity. Now, watch what happens, "And Joseph died and all his brothers and all that generation." So Joseph died and 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."
Before I jump right into that and explain that and go through it to the next one, we just got a text question that came in and we're speaking about Moses being a prophet, right? In fact, he said, "God is going to raise up a prophet like me." Well, the question that we got in is, "Are Abraham and Noah considered prophets?"
No, not in the technical sense, certainly they had a prophetic ministry by the way they lived and by what they believed and in the culture in which they existed, they were God's mouthpiece as they we relearning lessons of faith. But in the technical sense, it was Moses who said, "God has raised me up to be prophet and another prophet will arise that will be similar from among your brothers."
So, they could be considered, but in a technical sense. So Joseph died, back to our verses, "And all of his brothers and all that generation. The children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly and the land was filled with them."
When I read this, my first response is to say, "Boy, can God keep a promise." Do you remember back in Chapter 12 of Genesis? God says to Abraham, "I will bless you and I will make you a great nation, and in you all the peoples of the earth will be blessed." A few chapters later in Chapter 15, God says, "Hey, Abraham, come outside. Look up. See all those stars? See if you can count them." You can't count the stars in the heavens because they are so innumerable, just like the sands on the earth. "So shall your descendants be. I'm so going to bless you that your descendants are going to multiply into a huge group, a mega group."
And so they multiplied just like God promised. Now, 350, 400 years later, they have grown into a sizeable nation. How many people came into Egypt? Seventy. You know how many there now? We're going to get to it in Chapter 12 and later on in Exodus. Over 600,000 men would be counted, age 20 years old and above, not including women and children. We believe there between two and three million people. This is a population explosion. It's huge, huge, huge numbers.
But something happened. Not only does Joseph die, not only just time go on, but Verse 8 shows us the problem and -– or now, there arose a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph. That's a problem. What that means is he didn't know the significance or the significant role that Joseph had once played in that history of that nation, in that culture, where he had come from, and what he had done. This king, this pharaoh, missed the significance. If he would have remembered that, he would have never let happen what happens in this book.
Boy, how quickly we forget our own history. What happened in Egypt, I think, has happened in America. I think it's happening before our very eyes. I think we have a generation of Americans who really don't know our history of one nation under God, and the belief system of our forefathers and the separation of church and state issue, which not at all reflects what the original framers meant it to mean. It just meant we don't want the secular world to tell us spiritual people what to do. "No, let's keep spirituality out of the workplace" had nothing to do with that, but how quickly we forget our own history.
We have a great heritage. We lost it. How many of you have ever heard of Harvard University? Yeah, it was John Harvard who started that, 1636. He started Harvard not be a cool Ivy League school, but he started it for the ministry, to train up ministers so – because he said, "We dread to leave an illiterate ministry to the next generation. We want these people to be schooled and understand the truths of scripture and be equipped in their generation." Boy, you'd be hard pressed to find some of those kind people who believe that around Harvard University these days. It's turned completely in the other direction.
So here's a new king, he forgot his own history, he didn't know the significance of Joseph and he's not yet called pharaoh. He will be in a little bit. He's a King. Now, the word "pharaoh" interestingly enough originally never referred to a person. Did you know that? It referred to a place. Pharaoh means "great house" and the original term meant "The Palace of the King". Later on, its usage found itself in reference to the household or the people around the King. And eventually, he was assigned to the individual himself. He is a pharaoh. He is one of these rulers over Egypt. But at first, it simply meant "the great house".
Verse 8 -- or Verse 9, after the prosperity we now get in Verse 9, and he said to his people, "Look! The people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply. And it happened in the event of war that they also joined our enemies and fight against us and so go up out of that land."
Who was the pharaoh during the time of the Exodus? What was the name of the pharaoh during the time that Moses appears before him and becomes the deliverer? Well, we don't really know. There's a choice between three. One is a guy by the name of Ahmose I who is the founder of the 18th Egyptian dynasty, that indigenous group that took it back from the Hyksos Kings. Number two, Amenhotep I is the second choice. And the third choice is Tuthmosis I. You take your pick. One of those guys is this guy. But this pharaoh is -- well, he's a dictator and he has a plan. He has this strategy to minimize the possible damage that could occur because of the Jewish problem.
Now, I'm using a keyword. In World War II, Adolf Hitler was that there were Jewish people in Europe living in communities that had grown into huge numbers and were becoming very prosperous and that bothered him. It bothered him and he called out the Jewish problem because he thought what could happen if this gets out of hand and they sort of take over for us. And so he came up with was called "The Final Solution" to the Jewish problem and that was to kill six million of them to eradicate all Jewish people and the lineage of Judaism from Europe. And he tried really hard to do that.
Well, he wasn't the first one to come with that. Pharaoh, and later on we'll see many other occurrences of this in the Bible. They also wanted to do this. But having said that, you need to know that's from a human perspective. There's a divine element in play. Whenever we're talking about human government and human affairs, you must always remember that there is a Sovereign God who isn't up in heaven going, "Oh no! What do I do now?" God's sovereignty means that he's behind the curtains pulling the levers and allowing certain things to happen for a reason. God is stirring up, stirring up the pharaoh.
Why, because he wants the Israelites out of Egypt into the land that He promised to Abraham. So He's got to get him out of there. And that truth comes to us in Romans 9:17, where Paul says, "For the scripture says to pharaoh, for this very purpose I have raised you up that I many show my power in you and my name will be declared in all the earth."
Whenever you see a politician or a king or a dictator, any ruler, do something or say something that you don't agree with or you think is in a dangerous direction? Yeah, certainly you should pray. The Bible says we should pray for all kings and all those who are in authority. But you shouldn't sweat it because you have to understand something; these kings are just pawns on God's chessboard. They really are.
In the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream one night and it bothered him. That was in Chapter 4 and he said, "I had this dream of this tree that grew up and it was so big, it could be seen from one of the earth to the other. And as I was watching this big, huge tree, this watcher," he called it or angel from heaven said, "Cut down the tree and strip it off it's branches and scatter it's fruit and only leave the stump."
And then the stump is referred to in terms of a personal pronoun and he will eat like the beast of the field and he will become an outcast and eat the grass like the animals of the field, until seven seasons pass over him and he understands the most high rules in the kingdom of men and gives it whomever he wishes.
And so Nebuchadnezzar goes, "Wow, such a heavy dream. What could that be referring to? What's that tree?" Daniel says, "That's you. You're going to be cut down. God's going to cut you down to size, buckaroo. You think you're so high and mighty." And he did. He walked out to Babylon one day and said, "Look at this, this mighty Babylon that I have built for my Glory." At that very moment, a little voice came from heaven that said, "Your kingdom has departed." And he went crazy. He went nuts. He grew his hair out, not that's bad, but he grew his fingernails out like Howard Hughes, and toenails and he went out like a beast and started eating grass until seven seasons passed over him and he learned his lesson and humbled himself before the Lord. So, pharaoh is being stirred up so the children of Israel can be taken out, brought into another land. We see that all the way through the Bible.
Come to the New Testament, you have a problem. If the messiah is going to be the son of Joseph and Mary and Micah said the messiah is going to be born in Bethlehem, they got a problem because they live like 90 miles north in Nazareth. "How do we get in from Nazareth to Bethlehem?" Easy, just – God has to take the little pawn on his chessboard, Caesar Augustus, and say, "I think the world should be taxed and registered. Everybody should go back to the homeland of their forefathers." Which forces Joseph and Mary to go the town of David, which was Bethlehem and the scripture can be fulfilled.
So it is with pharaoh here. Verse 10, "Come let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply and it happened in the event of war that they also join our enemies and fight against us as they go out of the land of Egypt."
Now, what are the questions that we just got by text messages that the Gospel of Luke tells us that there were 75 people, not 70 people that were brought in. Here it says 70. These are the 70 sons that are counted and it is thought that if you add Joseph and a couple of the daughters that aren't mentioned, that it totals up top be 75. It's actually something we covered a little more in-depth in Genesis, so you can see that study. Verse 11, "Therefore, they set task masters over them to afflict them with their burdens and they built for pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Rameses."
Now, this pharaoh has a two-stage solution to the Jewish problem. Stage number one, afflict the adults. Make them work really hard. Break their backs so they don't have any stamina, any will power lest they would revolt. So that's what this is all about. He saw them as a security risk. It is believed by some that at this time, one out of every three people who lived in Egypt were actually outsiders, immigrants, not native Egyptians. Pharaoh saw that as a security risk because what if one of the nations there from comes and attacks us, our own people. This one out of three is going to join our enemies and fight against us.
So he saw this as -- it posed a security risk and he had to do something about it. It's understandable but it does reveal a bit of paranoia. It's a strategy that -- of some. It's a strategy to go into a nation in very small numbers, but them over time, take it over by expanding your population base. It has been done.
I read an article this week. It was a New Zealand newspaper and it was reflecting about some of the home countries. This person was from in Europe and his family. And he was reading an Islamic document that the Muslim strategy in Europe has been to go to Europe in small numbers and then overpopulate, have as many children as possible so that you become a dominant majority in population over hundreds of years and they will wait hundreds of years. And then eventually have enough stamina to insert themselves in law and bring in Sharia law, etcetera, and change the landscape politically and culturally of that nation.
So that can be a real problem. Europe is experiencing that problem now. Egypt felt they were experiencing it then. "But --", Verse 12, " -- the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew and they were in-dread of the children of Israel." Get this picture, a bunch of shepherds, that's all they were then they became a bunch of slaves and the Egyptians are in-dread of them because whatever they do to overturn them and lower their station in life, God overturns that and blesses them and multiplies them and prospers them.
So, they multiplied and grew despite the Egyptian persecution. I guess Romans 8:28 even works in the Old Testament. We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and that are called according to his purpose. So God is overturning them and it's all working out to be good. What happened in Egypt, happened since the 1940's in China. You see, in China at one time, there was a freedom of religion of sorts, much more that what happened after the cultural revolution of '49. People are allowed to practice Christianity as well as Buddhism, which is one of the central religions there.
In '49, there was a massive crackdown on other faiths. The Cultural Revolution forced Christians underground or into house churches, secret meetings, pastors were rounded up and killed or imprisoned and it's been going on for a long, long time in that country. When we were finally able to get into China and find out the status of Christianity in that nation, we were thinking the numbers must have dwindled considerably. We found just the opposite had happened. They'd actually exponentially grown into the millions upon million upon millions as they were being persecuted, God blessed them more and more and more.
And you know why that happens? Because persecution against Christians will separate the chaff from the wheat, whenever there's persecution, when you have to pay a price for believing in Christ, fewer people will say, "I believe in Christ." There's no bandwagon effect anymore. See, when times are good and laws are for the believers, "Oh, it's great. Let's just have a big party for Jesus." But when you get persecuted for Christ, it's like, "No. I've thought abut that. I'm not into that."
So it will separate the chaff from the wheat. And the chaff rises and people look at real Christians and it will motivate some. Well, that's worth living for. I think want to be a part of that. In fact, I know of one pastor. In fact, I know him. He's a national pastor well-known who says that he prays for persecution to come to the United States because he says, "I know what will happen. It's happened for the last 2000 years. The church will actually get strengthened because of it. We'll be more stronger than we are now."
So, the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor, Verse 14, and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage and mortar and brick and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.
God made two kinds of promises to Abraham. Good ones and -– I don't want to say bad ones, let met me rephrase that, pleasant ones and not so pleasant ones. There were pleasant promises, "Abraham, I'm going to bless you. I'm going to multiply you." And they got to Egypt, they were blessed and multiplied. But there were other promises that weren't so pleasant.
In chapter 15 of Genesis, the Lord said, "Abraham, your descendants will multiply more than the stars that can see right now and the grains of sand that you can look down upon. You can't count them all. I'm going to bless you that way. But know for certainty that your descendants will be in Egypt for 400 years and the Egyptians will afflict them for 400 years."
Now, if Abraham would have had a Bible, a written text that would be one verse he wouldn't underline.
You have favorite verses in the Bible. You have pleasant verses; there are certain ones that you like. "My God shall supply all your need according to his --" yeah, or underline that one. There are certain ones that stick out to us, we love them. There are other ones we don't underline. "In this world, you will have tribulation." That's cool, I like them.
They're not so pleasant. They are promised, however. God promises blessing but also god promises that there will be affliction for them, and God is keeping his promise. No people group in history has suffered like the Jewish nation. You'll see some of it in biblical records. You see a record of it here. What other nation has survived as a distinct people group and raise after 400 years of slavery two deportations, two total destructions, 2000 years of dispersions and a holocaust.
And come back to their land as the ancient people that they once were, speaking the ancient language they once did. No one. But throughout their history, they have been targeted, they have been persecuted. You'll see it here. You'll see it throughout the Bible. In fact, it all starts in Genesis 3. As soon as Satan gets the information from heaven that a woman is going to have a child, the seed of a woman, who's going to destroy his kingdom, he goes on the counter offensive. How do I get more information? What do I do to stop that child from being born? Who is that child? He didn't have the full information yet until the Bible unfolds.
His first attempt to kill the seed that was promised is when Cain killed Abel. He thought that must be it. Abel must be it. I'm going to make sure he dies so it ends God's program. That didn't work, so God decides to corrupt the entire world. So God destroys the whole world with a flood. But there were eight people, the family of Noah, that were preserved and a whole new population began because of -– now, we see it here with pharaoh. And pretty soon we'll find out that the Messiah has promised to the lineage of King David and that Bethlehem is the place of the Messiah so another evil emissary will be raised up to kill all the babies in Bethlehem. It wasn't just some wild man's paranoia. It was more than that. It was satanically inspired persecution.
Anti-Semitism is satanically inspired persecution. It's more than just prejudice, it's satanically inspired. Because here's the premise, if God's plan of redemption depended on the existence of a nation and the continuance of that nation, if you could destroy that nation, you will thwart God's plan of salvation. That's a heavy statement isn't it? What if I said that if you destroy all the UNM grads, you'll thwart God's plan of salvation? Not so much. It'd a horrible thing. I'm not suggesting it in gesture, tongue, and cheek, it would be horrible. But it probably wouldn't alter the history of redemption in any grand sense.
If you can destroy Israel as a nation, you can thwart God's plan and purpose. And that starts in Genesis 3 and goes all the way through -- up through the holocaust, even to what we're seeing happening today in the Middle East. Satan at work as the invisible war continues.
Now, we get to stage number two. Stage number one was to afflict the adults; stage number two is to annihilate the new borns, the babies, as we bring this to a close. Now, I have a question on my screen that actually is going to be answered but I'm going to give you the question then we're going to read down and we'll answer it so you'll know what it is.
The question is, "God blessed the midwives even though they lied, is it ever right to lie?" Well now, let's read the story. We'll get down to it. Verse 15, "Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives of whom the name of one was Shiphrah" which means beauty, she must have been beautiful. I think she was when she was a baby, that's when she was named at. And the other name was Puah. If you're looking for a great name for new born daughter, how about -- no, forget Puah. Don't do that.
But that name means splendor. So you got beauty and splendor. These two midwives weren't the only midwives. They usually were probably the supervisory roles. These were the two who were in-charge of all the other midwives. Midwives typically had no children of their own. Their full-time position was to help the birthing of others who were having babies. And so they probably had no children of their own, perhaps unable to conceive at this point.
And he said, the pharaoh said to them, "When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women and you see them on birth stools, if it is a son, you shall kill him. But if it is a daughter, she shall live." It's interesting that the pharaoh comes up with this, and I bring it to your attention because I want you to just remember this by the time we get to Chapter 12 -- 11 and 12
It seems as though God never forgot this. He didn't let this go. He wasn't willing to let this go. In fact, the ultimate and final plague upon the Egyptians is the death of their first born. So keep that in mind. Pharaoh's trying to kill all of the male children to eradicate the race, God never forgot this, and this will be one of the plagues that come upon Egypt. But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. So the midwives now had to make a choice. Their choice was, "Do I obey the visible king or do I obey and fear the invisible God? Do I get afraid of the visible king or do I fear the Lord, the invisible Lord, the invisible king and do what he wants?"
So it says they feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them but saved the male children alive. The government gave them a command. The command was a death sentence for children. These two women, however, believed in something called the sanctity of human life. And even though it was acceptable and even though it was allowed and commanded by the government, they didn't do it. They refused to do it. Now, they didn't like, pick it to get their message across, "Let's just put signs up and we'll pick it in front of pharaoh's palace." They didn't do that.
Rather that trying to change the world through picketing, they decided, "I'm just going to obey God. I'm going to just do what God laws tell me to do in the social matter." I'm not going to kill these children alive. This is the first instance of civil disobedience. They disobeyed the government. The government gave them a law, they didn't do it. Now, what does Romans 13 tell us to do in the New Testament? To obey the laws of the land, right? To honor them, to pay taxes to whom tax is due, to honor whom honor is due. But when a law of man tries to supersede a law of God, then we do what the apostles did in Acts Chapter 4 and 5.
A law was passed there. They couldn't preach the Gospel. They couldn't tell people publicly about Jesus. A law was passed in Jerusalem; it's illegal to bring your message across. So what do Peter and John do? They tell the Gospel to everybody. They break the law. Why, because Jesus had given them a law. Go on to all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. I think they qualified as part of the every creature. They're part of the creatures in the "every creature" scenario.
So here it goes, when they arrested and the government said, "Why did you do that? Didn't we tell you couldn't do that?" And Peter said, "Yeah, you did, you're going to have to figure that out yourself. But as for us, we must obey God rather than men."
So these Hebrew midwives are blessed because they, in this sense, civilly are obeying God and not men. God's law supersedes man's law. They're preaching not the gospel, but they're bearing the truth of the invisible God before the visible king. So, the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, "Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?" And the midwives said to pharaoh, "Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women for they are lively and gave birth before the midwives come to them." That's not necessarily a lie. That could actually be the truth.
In fact, as I read it, it's not like they really answered the question why. They just made a statement. "Well you know, the Hebrew children are different. They have their kids really quick." That could actually be the truth. They didn't say, "And we decided not to obey you because this is what's written." And God blessed them, as you will see, because of it.
Therefore, God dealt well with the midwives and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. I love it. God used two women to outwit a dimwit.
Love the people that God chooses and he gets the glory. And so it was, because the midwives feared God that He provided households for them. Don't you love that? They would see those babies being born, maybe they didn't have husbands of their own, children of their own and -- but because they decided they're going to make their work that and they're going to serve others and they're going to obey God that God said, "You know what? I know you. I love you. And I'm going to let you be blessed in this regard." He provided households for them so Mr. Perfect came along and they got married. So pharaoh commanded all of his people saying, "Every son who is born, you shall cast into the river and every daughter you shall save alive."
A little bit of a different strategy. The first strategy or the previous strategy, the idea is -- I'm going to have my watchers, my police, make sure that the midwives are being watched by these supervisory midwives to tell their midwives to not let the Hebrew children live. But their police, there weren't enough of them and they couldn't be fast enough whenever a Jewish family was having a baby in whatever part of Egypt.
So he sort of makes all of the Egyptians sheriffs. He deputizes all of them. He gets the whole nation involved. "If you hear that there's a male child born, you will throw him into the river and every daughter, you will save alive." Though that happens, you'll see in the next chapter and the next that there's one child who isn't drowned, who isn't killed, who does survive, they couldn't kill him and that is a little boy name "drawn out of the water" or Moses, Moishe. And we'll be introduced to him next week.
We have a final question before we close tonight and we have one minute left. The question is, "Are God's promises to the Jewish people transferred to Christians now that there is new covenant?"
No. There is the blessing that God promised to the Jewish people that will go to the Jewish people. God has a whole another set of promises for the church. And the Bible distinctly differentiates between the Jewish nation and the covenant that God has with them and the people of God, by faith, can be Jew or Gentile, the church.
Now, if you are Jewish Christian, you will have certain blessings in your heritage that will be both because you are Jewish and both because you're a Christian, but having said that, it doesn't matter who you are. You can be Jewish, you can be Gentile, you can be American, you can be Argentinean, and you can be European. Every culture, every person, must come to God, through the one God has sent from heaven and that is Christ. If you're Jewish, you're not automatically saved. If you keep rituals, you're not automatically saved, if you're religious, you're not automatically saved. The Bible talks about the need to repent of your sins, be born again, and let the blood of Jesus Christ cover you and that's what gets you to heaven.
Let's pray together. Father in heaven, we thank you for this time and we thank you for this wonderful group of people, so many that would pack out a facility like this on a midweek to hear the truths of a book that was written -- in this account 3400 years ago. But it was written for us, for our admonition. It's very relevant to us today. And I just thank you for their hunger and their thirst for truth and I pray you would reward that.
You said you were a rewarder of those who diligently seek you. We thank you Lord, that we've all had a Genesis and those of us who know Christ have also had the Exodus, deliverance from the bondage of sin to become your people. I, now, pray for anyone who might be among us tonight who doesn't know Christ personally. They've had a Genesis, they've had a physical birth but they've never been born again. They've never received Christ personally as Savior and as Lord.
And I pray, Lord, that you would just do your work in bringing some to know you tonight in this place at this time as you're praying, as your head is bowed, as your eyes are closed, and you're thinking about not only the message, but what I'm speaking if now. If you've never received Christ personally and you'd like to do that tonight, I'd love to pray for you.
Or if you have received Christ at some point in your life, you made some religious decision, you joined a church, you were at a Christian camp and there was an emotion that you felt and you made some kind of movement or decision. But tonight, after all these years, you're not walking with Christ. I'd like to pray for you too.
But I'd like to know who you are so I know who I'm praying for. So if you've never received Christ or you want to come back home to him and reaffirm that commitment, I'd like you to raise your hand up. Let me just see who you are and I'll pray for you as we close. Just keep it up for a minute. God bless you, Sir, on my left toward the back. And in the middle, on my left side. Anybody else? Raise you hand. In the back on my right. In the balcony, a couple of you in the balcony, a few of you in the balcony. Anyone else? Just lift your hand up. You're saying, "Yup, I know I need to do this. I want to know the purpose for which I'm existing. I want to give my life to Christ." Raise your hand up. Let me see it. Anyone else? Quickly, raise up. Right here in the front, a couple of you, thank you. And over here to my right. On my right toward the back, a couple more of you. And to my left, another couple.
Oh Father, I pray along with my brothers and sisters, for those whose hands have been raised. Their heart is saying I need Jesus. And we affirm that and we thank you for them, and we pray that as they receive Christ into their heart by faith, in prayer, you make all things new, that they'd never be the same. They'd walk with you and enjoy life with you. And know why they're here, give them a sense of peace that passes their understanding, they couldn't even figure it out why they're so happy and peaceful and the purpose for which they exist. In Jesus name, Amen.