Exodus/Shemot 1:1 - 6:1
For the week of January 17, 1998
19 Tevet 5758
"So I have come down to rescue them
In this first portion from the second book of the Torah, the nation of Israel is in slavery. Many years prior Jacob and his clan moved to Egypt during a famine. They were able to go to Egypt because Joseph, one of Jacob's son's, had risen to prominence there, after being mistreated and betrayed by his own brothers.
But now a new Pharaoh, who did not recognize Joseph's descendants, was in power. He was intimidated by their number and believed that they would turn against him and the Egyptians in time of war. He decided therefore that his best plan of action was to oppress them through forced labour. And yet they continued to grow in number. So Pharaoh decreed that all male Hebrew babies should be thrown into the Nile River.
Around this time one baby boy was born who, after being kept in hiding for three months, was put in a sealed basket and placed in the Nile.. He was discovered by Pharaoh's daughter, who hired the baby's own mother without knowing her identity. The boy was later raised as Pharaoh's daughter's son. She named him Moses.
Many years later, Moses killed an Egytian who was mistreating one of Moses' own fellow Hebrews. Learning that his own life was in danger as a result, he fled for the wilderness where he lived with the family of a man named Jethro. Moses married one of Jethro's daughters and became a shepherd.
It was while he was tending his sheep that God spoke to him on Mt. Sinai:
I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians (3:7,8)
Here is the God who created the universe taking notice of people and their hardships and getting involved in their affairs. When we stop and think of how great and powerful God really is, it is amazing to think that he would take notice of us at all. King David would later write,
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3,4)
Though God in so many ways is intangible, distant, and very much different from ourselves, it is his desire to be with us. Ever since Adam and Eve broke relationship with God in the garden, his intention was reconciliation.
And so we see God taking advantage of this oppressive situation to come back into the lives of human beings. Throughout the Scriptures God appears and speaks to people, getting involved in their lives.
This is climaxed in the coming of Yeshua. The angel said to Joseph,
She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you will give him the name Yeshua (Jesus), because he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord said through the prophet (Isaiah 7:14): "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means, "God with us" (Matthew 1:22,23).
Through Yeshua God has come down like never before. By taking human form his involvement in our lives is complete. By dying for our sins and rising from the dead, he has made possible our reconciliation with God.
God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives. Will we let him?