Text: Selections from Exodus 1-14
Four hundred thirty years passed between Jacob’s arrival in Egypt and Moses’ encounter with God in a bush that burned but was not consumed in Exodus 3. The intervening years were hard on the children of Israel. Joseph’s work to save Egypt – and the surrounding world – from famine was forgotten, like we have forgotten those who lived, worked, and struggled in 1582. The Hebrews became a source of labor for the Egyptians, making the bricks for the many building projects Egypt was conducting in those days. In time, their status as laborers descended to that of slaves to Pharaoh.
And in the midst of their hard labors, the people of Israel had to ask: where was God? Four long centuries and more had past, and all the evidence suggested that God had forgotten his chosen people. The people had had too many years of hardship and neglect. They must have long ago given up hope that there was ever a God that spoke to their forefathers. And if there had been, they imagined that His interests had long ago been given to other parts of the world. He no longer showed any signs of caring for them.