The story of the Birth of Jesus cannot be complete without looking at the Old Testament. And the best place to start with is the Book of Genesis – where the first prophecy of His coming is delivered. Then Exodus follows, where we find a prototype of Christ – Moses. Moses delivered the Children of Israel from bondage. Jesus delivers humanity from bondage too. It is in the same book we first run into Joshua (Yehoshua in the Hebrew language). “Jesus” is the English of the Greek rendering of “Yehoshua” via Latin and means “Yahweh is salvation.”
Thus we can always pop into this Travelers Hotel and find some bread to eat. It is a gem of wisdom and a fountain of knowledge.
In the first chapter of the Book of Exodus, we meet the man Joseph.
Unfortunately, we are reading his obituary. Joseph’s brothers die too. Remarkably their death does not signal an end to a dynasty. Rather we see their descendants who multiply to fill the Land of Egypt (Exodus 1:6-7).
Even when the source is cut off, so long as the foundation has been laid, and the covenant is full of zip, we can continue to be prolific. An end of a certain era in our lives does not necessarily mean the end of ourselves. In the New Testament, Jesus is born and after several years He dies, resurrects and ascends to Heaven. This happening does not mean the end of what He authored. Whatever work He started is anchored in the covenant. The foundation He laid guarantees permanency.
What kind of foundation are you laying? Is it for posterity?
As we explore the Book further we come across the descendants of Israel who are now being ill-used. The new Pharaoh does not know Joseph. He changes his mind and decides to oppress the Children of Israel. The once amiable relationship wanes and gloomy clouds now swing over the Israelites.
People do change mind. In fact, human beings change mind without warning. Friends become enemies as enemies become friends; Spouses divorce as others are joined in marriage. Things do change. Circumstances do change. And people too. Expect changes. Be ready for the unexpected.
Now contrast this with God:
Malachi 3:6, “”I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed”.
Numbers 23:19, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?”
Hebrew 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
The more they are oppressed the more they multiply (Exodus 1:12, 20). This is a conundrum! How can you multiply when you are under pressure? How can oppression, suppression, depression and repression lead to multiplication?
Mark this: They were not adding up; they were multiplying. It means they increased greatly.
Instead of going down they went up. The negative forces and hostility do not stop what God has purposed to do. The whirlwind that Herod unleashed when he learnt of a new king did not stop Christ from fulfilling His purpose. In the Old Testament, we find a Joseph going to Egypt, an event that saves his brothers. In the New Testament, we meet with another Joseph, who goes to Egypt to save the Messiah.
As we continue with the movement in the Book of Exodus, we come across River Nile. It was and still remains, the mainstay of Egypt. However, by then, River Nile was not just supporting the lives of the Egyptians but also destroying the lives of Hebrews (Exodus 1:22). The river that supports lives can also disrupt lives.
It is ironical that the daughter of Pharaoh saves Moses against his father’s wishes and orders. God can use the same circumstance that was supposed to eliminate you, to prosper you. He can make your enemies serve you.
A grown-up Moses witnesses a Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian. Moses murders the Egyptian as a way of protecting his kindred. The next moment we come across a Hebrew who is fighting another Hebrew (Exodus 2:11-13).
How many times do we fight among ourselves?
Infighting, bickering, backbiting and wrangling makes us weak. It renders us vulnerable and leaves us exposed. It diverts our attention from the real enemy and in this vein, we lose track of material issues.
The Hebrew reminds Moses of the previous event whereby he killed an Egyptian. It happens in life too: You think you are helping someone, but they turn around and strike you. Do not carry snakes in your chest; they will finally bite you.
A frightened Moses flees to another land. He seeks asylum in Midian. He is a man on the run.
However far we go, we cannot outrun God. We cannot escape His roving eyes. He is omnipresent.
God confronts the refugee Moses in the bush. The bush is set on fire but it is not being consumed (Exodus 3:1-3.) Isn’t it ironical that God’s fire does not burn the bush? God is still concerned with us even in our bushes. He still sends signals. He still light fires in our bushes.
He can call us from the unlikely, unexpected and unfamiliar places. He is a God who breaks traditions and rules. He is Almighty (Exodus 3:4-5). We cannot limit Him by our physical inadequacies.
It is amazing how much we can learn from the Bible.
Wouldn’t be wise to contemplate on the words of Charles H. Spurgeon,
“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”