Living By Faith
Our education begins with Israel in the land of Egypt. To properly understand the instruction we must know something about Egypt. In this lesson, we will view Egypt in three ways:I.) Geographically:
--Geographically, Egypt is located on the continent of Africa in the northern part where the Nile River empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Noah's son Ham had four sons. The second was Mizraim (Genesis 10:6), who is the father of the Egyptians.
--The vast majority of the people, both in Bible times and now, reside in the valley formed by the River. This valley varies in width from 3-30 miles. It is bordered on both sides by a thousand foot high desert plateau.
Thus Egypt is a land of extremes--on either side, lifeless, inhospitable desert and in the valley, teeming life from fertile soil.
--Historically, fertile soil brought God's people to Egypt in the time of Jacob and his son Joseph. Out of jealousy, his brothers sold Joseph to Ishmaelite slave traders.
Scripture: Genesis 37:23-27
In Egypt, Joseph soon found favor with his new master, but was falsely accused by the master's wife.
Scripture: Genesis 39:7-9; 11-15
--Condemned to prison, he again found favor with the keeper of the prison.
Scripture: Genesis 39:21
--Later, Joseph came to prominence in the land by interpreting the Pharaoh's dream. This dream predicted seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.
Scripture: Genesis 41:1-8
--Through God's providence Joseph came to the attention of Pharaoh. The interpretation of Pharaoh's dream led to Joseph's appointment over the affairs of Egypt.
Scripture: Genesis 41:38-43
--Eventually, he became God's provision for Israel. To escape the effects of the famine, Joseph brought his family to Egypt, where he wisely had stored up during the years of plenty for the years of famine.
--The life of Joseph reveals God's providential care for His people. He is the sovereign God. He rules the affairs of men.
Scripture: Genesis 15:13-16
--God forewarned Abraham that his descendents would not inherit the Promised Land for 400 years. The sins of the Amorites were not yet full.
--God predicted that their sojourn in Egypt would be as slaves. That was not true in Joseph's time. In his day, they were favored guests given the most fertile land.
Scripture: Genesis 47 :5-6
--The favor changed when Joseph passed from the scene.
Scripture: Exodus 1:8-13
The Israelites' fall from favor was due to two things:
1.) Prolific birth rate (Exodus 1:7)
--from seventy souls (vs. 5) to between two and three million in a little over two hundred years. By comparison, the Egyptians numbered about seven million.
--By comparison, consider a few hundred thousand boat people coming to this country after Viet Nam and the trouble that caused.
2.) Cultural differences
--Someone has said, "What the Egyptians worshipped, the Jews sacrificed."
--Because of the prolific birth rate and the cultural differences, the Egyptians began to fear Israel. The immigrants were becoming too numerous. So the Egyptians began their own brand of ethnic cleansing and enslavement. They would slay the Jewish male children and force the adults to serve with rigor. (Exodus 1:15-22).
--Spiritually, this slavery and hard labor pictures our slavery and bondage to sin prior to salvation
Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-3
--Contrary to some ideas about election, we are not saved from birth. Every believer prior to salvation was dead in our trespasses and sins. Romans 6:16-17 goes even further. We were not just dead. We were servants or slaves of sin. We could not help but sin, because we were sinners by nature.
--Verse two of our text goes on to say that we walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, who is Satan.
--The Bible speaks of the world as a system or philosophy based upon man's efforts to obtain his own salvation. The true leader of this world system is the devil.
Scripture: I John 5:19
--The world is controlled and directed by the devil. It is, therefore, contrary to God and the things of God. It opposes faith and rejects grace. The world says that man can achieve by his own efforts. He does not have to trust and depend upon the favor of the Sovereign God.
--When this view creeps into Christianity, it is devastating. It leads to loss of security (Jude 24), easy-believism that requires no transforming power of the gospel (Romans 1:17), and mountains of wood, hay, and stubble.
--John warns us about this line of thinking.
Scripture: I John 2:15-17
--We are not to love the system nor the things (the gimmicks, the machinery, the methods, etc.) produced by it. Instead, we are to submit ourselves to God and depend upon the Lord (Romans 12:1-2) for everything.
--Egypt is a type of this world system. Pharaoh represents the devil who wants to enslave us and keep us in bondage to this world. God wants to set us free by teaching us to live by faith.
--The book of Revelation predicts that one day God will judge both the philosophy and the prince of the power of the air. The judgment of Egypt and Pharaoh pictures that future judgment.
--Through this judgment of Egypt, God revealed His plan of redemption for Israel that pictures our salvation in Christ. Just as God delivered Israel from bondage to Egypt, He delivers us from bondage to this world (Romans 6:18). Just as God rescued Israel from the judgment of Egypt, so God will rescue us from the coming judgment of this world (I Thessalonians 1:10, literally, "rescued from the wrath to come").
--God's plan of salvation unfolds in the early chapters of the book of Exodus and begins with a man--the man Moses.
Next lesson: Moses