Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Exodus 1:8-14 (ESV)
Pharaoh Oppresses Israel
8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. 13 So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.
Fear drives us to do things we normally would not do. The pattern shown in this passage shows fear leading to oppression. This has been repeated throughout history, especially in the way slaves were treated in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries and during Apartheid in South Africa in the 20th century. If the pattern holds true then the thing we fear will not go away, but increase! Pharaoh’s response is to oppress. God’s response is to bless. How will we respond? How do we respond to fear in our daily lives? Pray that fear does not drive how you make decisions in your life. Instead, pray for God’s wisdom and guidance in all circumstances.