Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Promise Perfected - Part 3

So, we are talking about God brining about his promised Kingdom community on earth. He has provided models, examples if you will, of what He desires for community through his own person (One God, three persons), the Garden of Eden and creation, and the plan for family. He then begins to establish His next model of community on earth by the calling and setting apart of a nation of people through the descendants of Abraham. This people is to become a nation known as Israel.

Israel, his sons and families go down to Egypt to survive a terrible famine. Joseph, one of the sons of Israel has gone ahead by God's design to preserve the family of Israel. But Israel, Joseph and his children pass away. A new Pharaoh comes to power who doesn't know Joseph and begins to enslave the Israelites out of fear.

God's plan was to use Egypt as a crucible to form Israel into a nation. At the appointed time, he raises His leader, Moses, to come and help deliver Israel from its bondage in Egypt. Moses was a baby that was cast into the waters to die by Pharaoh's command. However, he is saved by Pharaoh's daughter, raised in Pharaoh's court and as a young man, begins to see the plight of his own people, Israel, and their misery.

Through a series of events where Moses kills a man (to protect a Hebrew), Moses flees for his life to the land of Midian. He meets and marries his wife, Zipporah, and becomes a shepherd for the flock of his new father-in-law, Jethro (Exodus 2:11-21). During that time while Moses is in Midian, the Israelites continued to call out to God in misery in their slavery and the Bible says that God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them (Exodus 2:23-25).

God then fulfills His promise to the community of Israel by calling Moses (from a burning bush) and sending him back to Egypt to lead Israel out of Egypt and back to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Through an amazing story and great events (including more oppression, plagues and miracles), Moses, assisted by his brother Aaron, confront Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt and gain permission to lead Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 4:18-12:42). Thus, at the end of 430 years (to the very day) all of the house of Israel left Egypt and began their journey (a whole another adventure) back to the land promised by God to their forefathers. They were seventy in all as the sons of Jacob when they went to Egypt. They were "about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children" when they left Egypt 430 years later.

A new nation, Israel, was born! A new community of God was initiated to be a showpiece for all other nations. They became a nation in the crucible of Egypt. They would now be forged into a cohesive community in the fire of the desert.

Next post - The Promise Purified

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