Exodus 1:1-14, 22
Our reading will now take us back from the land of Uz to the land of Egypt, where we left the chosen family in Goshen.
The Lord knoweth them that are his. The names of the godly seed are precious to his heart.
Thus the ancient covenant that Abraham’s seed should be many received its first fulfilment. God is not unmindful of his promises.
Out of sight out of mind; a man may confer on a nation permanent advantages, but he cannot hope for permanent gratitude. Those who serve man are generally rewarded with forgetfulness.
The ungodly always try to make out that God’s people are a dangerous set, but indeed, if they would treat them kindly they would find them the best of neighbours. It is only when they wilfully stumble at this stone that it breaks them. The Egyptians tried to prevent the increase of Israel. Vain was this attempt. Pharaoh might as well have tried to stem the sea, or prevent the rising of the Nile. Jehovah had determined that the people should be multiplied, and no policy of kings and princes could prevent it. Great was the monarch’s worldly wisdom, his plan had in it both the subtlety and cruelty of Satan, and yet he was but a fool, and his schemes failed at every point.
Unscrupulous and determined as the enemies of God’s people have been, they have nevertheless been unable to achieve their design. The church must spread, and spread too by the very means made use of to destroy her. There are herbs which increase rapidly when they are trodden upon, and true religion is one of them.
This was with the view of degrading them, crushing their spirit, and lessening their vigour, but the cruel device succeeded not. No weapon can prosper against the Lord’s chosen. Hard labour is after all less injurious than pampered indolence. Better slave in a brick-kiln than canker in laziness.
After a futile attempt to procure the murder of all the male children by those who attended at their birth, Pharaoh passed a tyrannical decree which is thus recorded.
Murder was thus called in to make an end of the elect people, but it was in vain. The Lord of Israel was greater than the King of Egypt, and proved more than a match for all his plots and plans.
What though to make our numbers less
Our foes their wisdom try,
The more our enemies oppress,
The more we multiply.
Then let the world forbear its rage,
Nor put the church in fear,
Israel must live through every age
And be th’ Almighty’s care.