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Exodus 1:1-14 (NIV)
The Israelites Oppressed
1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt. 6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7 but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them. 8 Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. 9 “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. 10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” 11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.
The generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have been recorded for us in Scripture. The family of Joseph and his descendants lived well in Egypt and continued to thrive. Yet, soon there came a day when a new king ruled, and Joseph’s legacy was lost. The Israelites seemed to be a threat rather than a gift. We’ve seen God do it before; will God use these harsh circumstances to move his people? Will God keep his ancient promises to his chosen people? Has God ever redeemed difficult circumstances in your life? Has hardship moved you to a new place in life or in faith? If so, praise God that he can make beauty from ashes. If not, if you are walking through hard times on this day, pray for God’s guidance and help.