With Joseph’s story the focus is on the twelve brothers who will become the twelve tribes of Israel.
Also the focus is on the development of the population of Israel under Joseph’s protection in Egypt.
God’s sovereignty worked in spite of some very negative experiences in the family of Jacob to accomplish His purpose for the development of the future political nation of Israel
The following are highlights of God’s people with foreign nations and the fulfillment of the promise to make a great nation from Abram’s seed.
1. Some of the greatest Jewish Heroes developed in the context of cross-cultural living and ministry.
Joseph is forced into a bi-cultural situation. Joseph is sold to foreign traders, the Ishmaelites, by his brothers (37: 26, 27). These illegitimate sons of Abram had by now become a separate people who were willing to sell a Jew into slavery
2. Racial diversity even in the chosen tribe of the Messiah reveals God’s universal intentions.
Judah, the tribe of the promise, marries a Canaanite woman.
Remember who Judah would become, i.e. the bearer of the Promise (tribe of Judah).
Even at this early stage the ancestry of the future Messiah is mixed with non-Jews (38:2).
This is another reminder to us that Biblical religion is not a racial faith. God is seeking to reach all races.
3. God prepared a messenger to go to a resistant nation. Joseph goes to Egypt (39:1)
Egypt had become the most developed and influential nation of the day. All of their neighbors would become debtor nations to them due to the famine.
This superpower would receive a witness through Joseph as their second in command.
4. God is keeping His promise to build Abraham into a great population
The 12 tribes become a great people group (46:3). In order to make a political nation you must have a great number of people.
1. The Exodus has a profound significance for mission.
a. Yahweh’s liberation of Israel from bondage demonstrates to the world the His liberating and saving power for all people of all nations.
Ex 9:16 "But, indeed , for this reason I have allowed you to remain , in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth .
Ex 11:19 Then the LORD said to Moses , "Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt ."
Rom. 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh , "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH ."
The Exodus has a profound significance for mission -(cont.)
The basic truth of the exodus is that God does not remove people from difficult circumstances but instead meets them in their trials to demonstrate who He is. He desires that all may know Him as their deliver; as the one who sets people free to worship and serve Him (Steyne 106).
b. Israel was in a situation (albeit bondage) where they could give testimony to the character and power of Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob …in contrast to the full array of capricious gods of Egypt.
How does Yahweh differ from the gods of the Egyptians?
intervenes in the affairs of man (revelation at burning bush Ex 3:13-16
never leaves His people Ex 33:14-17 And He said , "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest ."
God of promise and fulfillment Num 23:19 "God is not a man , that He should lie , Nor a son of man , that He should repent ; Has He said , and will He not do it? Or has He spoken , and will He not make it good ?
Not a local tribal deity but a God of the nations
Israel was the bearer of God’s name to the nations. Everything they did bore witness to the power of God – their history, victories, defeats, blessings, curses, sufferings, deliverances – the entire history of Israel.
c. Israel would keep alive in their collective memories, through celebration and liturgy, this time of new beginnings provide for by Yahweh.
Saw themselves as a distinct people chosen by God. In captivity for 400 years maintained their identity
(Deut 26:18-19) "The LORD has today declared you to be His people , a treasured possession , as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments ; and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made , for praise , fame , and honor ; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the LORD your God , as He has spoken ."
Distinctive Covenantal Relationship – God made a covenant with them, not vice versa. Pagan gods rose and fell with the success of the people who worshiped them. Authority and reign of God does not depend on power and position of the Israelites.
Israel’s public confession of God’s deliverance: Ex 15:1-21 “ Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD , and said , "I will sing to the LORD , for He is highly exalted ; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea .
…” To this day the Passover is remembered in Jewish families. “In brief, Israel’s statement of faith reflected a God who would intervene when circumstances revealed mankind’s total helplessness and change seemed impossible. He could deliver even when opposed by all the powers of hell. (Steyne 111). God does not depend upon the wisdom or intellect of people to do his work, rather He takes the simple, humble and defenseless to show the magnitude of His glory.
The Commission (Ex. 3:14): Moses was called to cross cultural action to deliver those described as slaves or prisoners. Moses had grown up in the Egyptian culture and language, so that he was a readily equipped bicultural messenger.
The Challenge (5:1-2): Moses was faced with the task of standing up to the foreign king and testifying and demonstrating the power of the God Yaweh.
The Channel (7:12): Moses was to lead Israel to be a model for God’s glory among the nations in the surrounding Sinai wilderness.
The Confrontation (7:12): Moses was equipped with promises of power demonstrations of God’s superior power that he should use to confront Pharoh and the Egyptian nation with the truth of who Yahweh is. Moses received the sign of the staff-snake and the leprous hand to authenticate God’s presence with him. He was instrumental in effecting ten power encounters to reveal Yahweh’s superiority. A power encounter is an evangelistic use of the power of God a a proof of the truth and superiority of God’s word.
The ten demonstrations of God’s power to Pharaoh were miracles concerning: Blood, Frogs, Gnats, Flies, Livestock, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and the Firstborn. The climax of this grand display of God’s reality is the final battle at the Red Sea crossing and the subsequent drowning of the Egyptian army. These terrible events on the number one nation of that contemporary world would have world-wide effects in drawing attention to Israel’s God.
While the correlation between plagues and Egyptian deities is incomplete and in some cases ambiguous, there are enough parallels to suggest that on at least some level the plagues of Yahweh were intended to demonstrate his superiority over Egyptian gods
Plague Egyptian Deity targeted
1. Nile to blood- Khnum--creator of water and life, Hapi--Nile god, Osiris--the Nile was his bloodstream
2. Frogs- Heket--goddess of childbirth whose symbol was the frog
3. Gnats- Seth- earth god
4. Flies- Beelzebub- prince of the air
Plagues as Judgment on the Gods of Egypt (cont)
5. Cattle disease- Hathor--mother and sky goddess whose symbol was the cow, Apis--bull god
6. Boils- thought to represent punishment of sins, medical shamans magic could not stop it.
7. Hail- Seth--god of wind and storm, weather shamans could not control what God controlled.
8. Locusts- Isis-goddess of life, Min--goddess of fertility and vegetation, protector of crops
9. Darkness- Amon- Re, Atum, Horus--sun deities
10. Death of firstborn- Osiris--judge of the dead and patron deity of the pharaoh
(1) Called – at the burning bush, Ex 3:4 “When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look , God called to him from the midst of the bush and said , "Moses , Moses !" And he said , "Here I am."
(2) Commissioned , Ex 3:10 “Therefore, come now , and I will send you to Pharaoh , so that you may bring My people , the sons of Israel , out of Egypt ."
(3) Equipped – Ex 3:11-22 “But Moses said to God , "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh , and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt ?"
The identification of Moses for the missional task.
(1) with the royal court (by his own experiences.)
Prospering his people based on covenant obedience present and future. Israel was learning that obedience led to prosperity as they fulfilled their responsibility, then God’s blessing was theirs. ”The blessing promised to Abraham and his children. . .” (Dt. 29:9,12,13).
The purpose of this covenant contract was to call future generations into this same relationship of responsibility toward God:
“ I am making this covenant with its oath not only with you who are standing here in the presence of the LORD our God but also with those who are not here today (Dt. 29:14, 15).