20 May 2020
The Link Between the First Two Books of the Bible
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, l die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (Genesis 50:24-26).
Joseph had not forgotten the promise of God to the patriarchs that God would give the land of Canaan as an eternal possession. Hebrews 11:22 recorded the faith of Joseph in the Hall of Faith. The Lord answered the faithful wish of Joseph in Exodus 13. Moses and the children of Israel took the bones of Joseph back to promise land when they left Egypt. God did promise Abraham in Genesis 15 that His people would be delivered from Egypt. God had used Joseph to bring his family to Egypt and took good care of them. This man of God reminded the people of God’s promises two times. The man of faith may not be around on earth but God still remembers what He had promised to His people. He will honour His promise in due time. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were gone to be with the Lord. Joseph also departed. God will honour His promise in His perfect timing.
The departure of such an influential Hebrew Prime Minister in Egypt was sorrowful for the people of the Lord. What would be the future of the godly? Would Egypt treat the families of Joseph the same? That was not the concern of the godly man Joseph before he died. All he cared about was the precious promise of God. That the living God would surely visit them. It is not maybe or most probably. Our God is all-powerful, His cheque of faith will certainly be honoured. All the power of darkness could not prevail against the Word of God. The palace of Egypt may change their way of treating the Hebrews later for worse, but God was working behind the scene to achieve His purpose. Genesis began with creations of God and ended with a funeral but Exodus began with gloom and ended with glory. Do not judge the work of God until the due time. The seed of the woman will deal a deadly blow to the seed of the adversary (cf Genesis 3:15).
After a lengthy period of time, the Lord worked gradually to lead His people out of Egypt. First, He allowed His people to be enslaved, then persecuted. The Egyptian palace seemed to be victorious at first until they saw the miraculous interventions of God. The living and true God manifested His power through circumstances and miracles to rescue His people from the kingdom of darkness. The Lord instructed His people to trust in the blood of the Lamb to shield them from the impending judgment of the firstborn. After the redemption from Egypt, the law of God was given, ensued by God-centred worship that was acceptable by the Lord. The tabernacle was built to be the God-appointed meeting place between The Lord and His people. Sacrifices were offered by worshippers through the office and work of God's appointed priesthood.
All these were revealed to show that the people of God ought to realise their sinfulness and unworthiness to approach the Lord by themselves. They need to understand the will of God and approach Him in the manner instructed by Him. The redeemed people ought to forsake their worldly religious beliefs and practices which they imbibed in Egypt. Otherwise the idolatrous practice like the worship of the golden calf will be repeated and grieve the heart of the Lord. Such sin of idolatry revealed the depth of corrupt influences that they received while sojourning in Egypt. Such habitual idolatry will gradually send the nation of Israel to the way of destruction. Failure to worship the Lord alone consistently invite divine judgment and finally caused the Israelites to be slaves of another worldly empire. The collapse of their nation was due to their apostasy for a long time. An unrepentant attitude was the cause of the untold suffering of the covenant people.
The Lord had saved them by His mighty hand from Egypt, the kingdom of darkness. They were changed from the status of slaves to free men. God gave them His law to help them to maintain true freedom. The law was not given to kill their joy, neither was it supposed to be used as a means to be declared righteous by God. The law was given to reveal the sins and point the need to trust in the Lamb of God. The people who were redeemed were supposed to live a different life from their pre-conversion days. Only then the Lord is comfortable to dwell with them and bless them.
Rev. Lee Kim Shong