Slavery, Terror, and the Glory of God – Exodus 1

When we read Exodus 1, the question should be asked, “Do we see this pattern anywhere else in Scripture?” Essentially, can you think of any other times in the Bible that the story of oppression and torment lead to the annihilation of infants? Can you think of times in the Bible where there is somehow oppression upon a people and the next generation is what ends up suffering as a result? The reason we should ask such a question is because if we find it in more than one place, then we know this is not a fluke and anomaly to history, but is a pattern that we can expect and prophesy concerning the future.

In 1 Kings 9:21, we read of Solomon’s kingdom. Solomon is using slave labor in order to build military bases. That isn’t all. What else was built with slave labor? His palace, and even the Temple of God. Now, if that wasn’t already terrible enough, we continue to read 1 Kings to come across chapter 12. Solomon dies and his son Rehoboam takes his throne. The tribes of northern Israel come to King Rehoboam and say, “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” Behold Solomon’s kingdom: the New Egypt.

Now, Rehoboam actually didn’t do the reasonable, which in this case means both the right and the smart, thing. Instead, he threatened to inflict harsher labor. For this reason, it was during the reign of Rehoboam, and not Solomon, that the kingdom divided. Thus, we see the pattern. Pharaoh oppresses the Hebrews, and instead of killing whoever, he kills the children. It is the up and coming generation, and not the current generation. In Solomon’s time, he inflicts harsh labor upon the northern tribes of Israel, and it results in the division of the kingdom in his son’s rule.

Are there any more times that this happens? What about in the New Testament? King Herod was an oppressor. Under the reign of King Herod, taxes ranged from about 80-90% of your income. You had the temple tax, then you had to pay for the sacrifices, you had the Herod tax, then the tax collectors took their own portion, and beyond that you had taxes paid to Rome. All together, under Herod the people of Judaea were taxed up to 90% of their taxes, with the minimum of about 80%. Could you imagine the struggle? I can’t.

In our American culture, we are taxed about 30% when you include tithing. It might be as much as 40%, but this is uncommon. We get taxed a third of what the living conditions were under Herod. Poverty wasn’t a legitimate description. The poorer are getting poorer, and the rich are getting richer. People are losing their family land that they inherited during the time of Joshua about 1400 years ago. For over a millennium their family has owned this property, and now it comes into your hands, and you can’t pay Herod enough to keep it.

Imagine the shame. I have a hard time when I simply need to ask for help with the rent bill. People are enslaving themselves to others for the sake of income. Others are moving to another town and picking up a trade. We learn in the Gospel of Matthew that Joseph returned from Egypt and goes to a different town because he fears Herod. The life of Jesus was lived in a context where Joseph picked up a trade, thus giving every appearance of having lost the family land. What could he say? Could he really correct their scoffs? Joseph and his family would have had to live under the tension of not being good enough. They were failures, and therefore carpenters.

What kind of result do we find of Herod’s oppression? In Matthew 2, Herod kills all of the Hebrew males under 2 in Bethlehem. Here we find our pattern again. As with Exodus, so with Solomon. As with Pharaoh, so with Herod. There is a repetition in the Bible, and three establishes a pattern. A pattern is important to notice, because it is intended to grab our attention. Something is happening here that God wants us to comprehend. He is being deliberate in recording this history so that we will recognize and understand something.

It is the wisdom of the principalities and powers to come after children. They are defenseless and voiceless. In our day and age we see the exact same attack on the up-coming generation through abortion. There is something about this next generation that will be extraordinary. For you who are millennials, or maybe even younger, take hope in this. All seriousness and sobriety is necessary. You are a prophetic generation, a feared people. Satan desires to devour you, because he knows that something in you is crucial. If he can stop your coming forth into all that you are supposed to be, then the gig is up. If Satan could stop the Hebrew children being born that would be delivered from Egypt, the gig would have been up.

Remember, we read here in Exodus 1 of this genocide. Yet, it wasn’t Moses’ parents that were freed from Egypt. Moses spent 40 years on the backside of the desert, and this took place when he was already 40 years old. The generation that was being killed was the generation that would have been leaving at an elderly age. Is this significant to this generation? God only knows.

Grab your Bible and open it up to Revelation 12. What do we find there? We find a woman and a dragon. The dragon is Satan. This woman is pregnant and Satan desires to devour the child. Sound familiar? Just for clarity, I don’t think that the child is this up-coming generation. I think that it is more specific than that. However, the pattern is clear. Just as we saw with Pharaoh, and we saw with Herod, and we saw at least partially with Solomon, so we are also seeing an end time prophecy in Revelation 12. What exactly is it that would cause this pattern? If you can answer that conundrum for me, please comment. I wrestle with this to no avail so far.

At current, my best guess is that there is a wisdom being displayed from the principalities and powers, in that they are fully revealing their character and venom. Yet, there is also a wisdom from God being displayed in that “the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread” (Ex 1:12). Herod killed how many children? Yet he still did not stop Jesus’ birth and deliverance. In Revelation 12, no matter what the serpent does, the man-child is still born and caught up to God. He cannot overcome. There is a clash of kingdoms, and therefore a clash of wisdoms. Which wisdom will you subscribe to?

Do you subscribe to the wisdom of violence, selfishness, preservation, threat, intimidation, force, coercion, manipulation, oppression, and terror? Or, do you subscribe to the wisdom of God, which is sacrifice, mercy, love, hope, kindness, gentleness, patience, peacefulness, grace, faith and faithfulness, righteousness, joy, and self control? The two are entirely against one another. Yet, for they who dwell in the light, the darkness cannot overcome. Though Pharaoh killed many, how many more must he have not been able to murder? Though Hitler desired annihilation, he did not attain it. There is a manifestation of the wisdom of God being performed, and the challenge is being pressed upon us: Whom shall you serve?

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