Out of Egypt
Key Verse: “The horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.”
MANY YEARS HAD PASSED since the days of Joseph. He had developed a good relationship between the Pharaoh in power during his day and the children of Israel. However, “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.”—Exod. 1:8
This new Pharaoh was fearful that the Israelites had become so great a people that they would be mightier than the Egyptians. He commanded that taskmasters be set over them to afflict them with hard labor, but the Israelites continued to multiply. Pharaoh ordered that further burdens be put upon them. He “made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.” (vs. 14) Still the children of Israel multiplied, though their bondage became more severe.
“The children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up to God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.” (chap. 2:23-25) The ten plagues which came upon Egypt, in particular the last one in which all the firstborn were killed, were the means by which God directed his power through Moses and Aaron to accomplish his promised deliverance.
Mankind, too, has been in bondage since the fall of our first parents in the Garden of Eden. We have likewise suffered “with rigour” at the hands of the great taskmaster, Satan, and have been shut up in the prison-house of death. This condition of fallen man is well described by the prophet, “This is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.” (Isa. 42:22) The Apostle Paul described the matter in his day with these words, “We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together.”—Rom. 8:22
Just as with Israel, however, God’s plan is to release man from bondage, from prison, from his groaning under Satan and sin. This will be accomplished under the authority of Christ’s righteous thousand-year kingdom here upon the earth. We see even now the “plagues” of trouble coming upon this present evil world which signal the soon establishment of that kingdom and its resulting blessings to all the families of the earth. As our Key Verse points out, Pharaoh and his horsemen were destroyed in the sea as the children of Israel passed over on dry land. So also, in Christ’s coming kingdom, Satan and his angels will be rendered powerless, and ultimately be destroyed, no longer able to burden mankind.
Speaking prophetically of this future time, and of Christ as the kingdom ruler, Isaiah says, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me [Christ]; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”—Isa. 61:1