Exodus, Chapter 1

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Exodus, Chapter 1

Reflect

“And these are the names…”

It is clear from the very first word of Exodus, “and,” that this story is the continuation of the larger narrative of God’s faithfulness to his people begun in the book of Genesis.  It is in this book that we continue to trace the way God fulfills the promises he made to the patriarchs.  However, chapter 1 feels as though it highlights the absence of God rather than his presence.  Where is God now that this new pharaoh has taken control and enslaved the Israelites?  Where is God as their infant sons are being slaughtered and thrown into the Nile?  These questions are important for us to wrestle with before we move too quickly into chapter 2 when “God hears the people’s groaning” (2:24).  The tension of God’s absence in the midst of tragedy and pain is not new.  Throughout this history of God’s people, there have been times when the cries for salvation felt as though they were going unheard.  However, we know that God is the Lord of all history, and we see that reflected again and again in the overarching narrative of the Scriptures.   One scholar puts it this way, “God is steady and sure, and the Israelites are to see their prolonged enslavement in light of God’s character rather than to make conclusions about God’s presence or absence on the basis of their circumstances” (Enns, 51).

Enns, Peter.  The New Application Commentary: Exodus. Zondervan, 2000.

Respond

We may often feel as if God is absent.  As our nation continues to struggle in the midst of this global pandemic, unemployment, injustice, division, fear, and violence, it can be difficult to see the goodness of God.  But it is there.  He is here.

Where in your life, the life of your family, our nation, our world, do you feel God’s absence?  How might the stories we just read in Genesis and the one we’re beginning in Exodus speak to the character of God and provide assurance of his faithfulness?

Pray

Lord, we feel anxious.  Our world is aching and our hearts are breaking.  May we commit anew to being more attentive to your presence in the midst of suffering and unrest.  As we begin to read the story of the Exodus, remind us of your power and faithfulness that is so clearly demonstrated in your Word.  We ask it all in the name of the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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