Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 7
REVIEW OF JOSEPH
Genesis 46 – Exodus 4
If you remember last lesson, we were winding up the Book of Genesis. And as one gentleman wrote in one of his letters, tongue in cheek I’m sure, “By the time you finish Genesis will you be through the Bible?” He was close, but not quite. We’re going to review just for a moment or two, and then we’ll be ready to go into the Book of Exodus.
So, let’s turn now to Genesis 46, because I’ve made it a point over the years to make it so plain where the nation of Israel came from, because I had several people who had taught Sunday School for years that never really knew where the Jew come from in the first place. When did Israel become a nation? As we’ve been studying now for the last several months, it all began when God called Abraham out of the midst of idolatry. I always have to stress that the whole human race was steeped in paganism and idolatry. No one had a knowledge of the one true God. But God saw in that man Abraham a potential for faith, and so He revealed Himself to him, and told him to leave Ur with his family and go to a place that He would show him later. We now know that was the land of Canaan.
Then, you remember, from Abraham we have the Covenant, and that was passed on to Isaac. Isaac in turn had two sons, Jacob and Esau. We saw that Esau was destitute of faith so Jacob ascends to the place of having the birthright and the blessing. It’s through Jacob that the Messiah would come, the Seed of the woman of Genesis 3:15. Then Jacob went back up to his kinfolk in Syria, married Leah and Rachel up there, and with a couple of women servants, he has 12 sons. And those 12 sons and their families, by virtue of Joseph being sold into Egypt earlier, they all end up in Egypt because of the famine.
You all know the story of the seven years of good production. Joseph piled up the grain and foodstuff in order to carry the world of that time through the seven years of famine. He had the grain and food and the other 11 brothers, and old Jacob and the family, were about the starve to death in Canaan. Then they found out there was grain in Egypt and you remember the story – how they all end up in Egypt, where Joseph, being the second highest man in Egypt, was able to give them the very fruit of the land. That would be the land of Goshen, around the Nile River. And so in the area of Goshen those 12 sons are then the setting for the population explosion that we will see when we come into the Book of Exodus.
All through the sojourning, from the time that God called Abraham and told him that he would have a nation of people coming out of his loins and from his own wife (even though she was now well passed child-bearing time), yet the promise was always associated with the stipulation that if they would stay in the land, the land of promise, then these things would come to fruition. I’ve had you turn to Genesis 46, but you see, under the circumstances and in God’s sovereign plan in bringing all this to pass, He finally tells Jacob in no uncertain terms to go on down into Egypt. Let’s look at it:
“And he said, I am God, the God of thy father; fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there (in Egypt) make of thee a great nation.”
Now, lock that into your computer. You see, God’s time table is so exact, that when He told Abraham that it would be 430 years, that’s exactly what it was. So it’s in that time period, 215 years, from Abraham until Jacob goes down into Egypt with all of his offspring. Another 215 years, while they’ll be in Egypt under slavery, will fill the 430 years. Exodus tells us that the day they left Egypt was exactly 430 years.
Now, just one other little comment out of the Book of Genesis and that is in Chapter 50, the very last Chapter. Let’s just look quickly at verse 22-26 because again, the word of God is so accurate. I told one of my other classes, I want people to get to the place where you can believe every word, of this book even though there are things that we can’t quite put together and can’t quite understand. And it may almost seem illogical at times, but BELIEVE IT!!! It’s the Word of God and God does not lie nor make mistakes.
Now, of course, we always have to remember that our Bibles are translations. Our Bible may contain a little error here and there, because they are translations. But when we say that the Word of God is without error and that it’s perfect, we’re talking about the originals. And on the other hand, I’ve always maintained that God has been so jealous of His Word, that He has not permitted a gross error to come in. There may be a word or two here or there, and maybe a number that could very easily have lost it’s original through the process of translation, but you can believe it! The Word of God is true and the more you study it, the more true it becomes. So now, let’s look at verse 22 of Chapter 50:
“And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.”
“And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation (Remember Ephraim was Joseph’s son);… the children of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.”
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, (In other words to the rest of the family of Jacob) I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land (Egypt) unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.'”
Now those three names just keep popping up all the way through Scripture, well into the New Testament.
“And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence (In other words, back to Canaan).'”
“So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”
And so ends the Book of Genesis, the Book of Beginnings. This Book that starts, “In the beginning God created…,” but it ends with, of all things, a coffin. Death. Always remember, and this is not original with me – God buries his servants, but never his programs.
Now, we are at the Book of Exodus. Israel has been in Egypt over 200 years. The children of Israel are multiplying, and God is about ready to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He will now take them into the land that He had delineated in the Abrahamic Covenant. Remember, Exodus is a Book of Redemption, as we mentioned last program. You see, this is the entire matter of buying back something He had once owned but had lost. This is the whole idea of man’s redemption itself. That which God had in the beginning with Adam and Eve (He fellowshipped with them, everything was perfect), until sin entered. Sin separated Adam and Eve from God, and, of course, out of the garden, and immediately what did God have to institute? A plan of redemption. To be able to buy back, and pay the price for that which He lost control of. Now, it’s the same way here with Israel. It was the sin of the brothers selling Joseph into slavery that started the ball rolling, where God lost control of His Covenant people. They are now down in Egypt. And now He is going to redeemed them.
“Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.” Of course the sons are all mentioned here. But drop down to verse 7:
“And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied (That word multiplied in the Hebrew almost speaks of swarming. So this wasn’t just a casual increase. They had a real population explosion)…, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.”
“Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.”
Right here, you need a little knowledge of ancient history. Back then, things were not any more stable than they are now. An empire could rise, and a line of kings could come on the scene, but it wouldn’t be very long before someone that was stronger would come in and they would over-rule the Pharaohs and set up a new line of kings. History indicated the line of Pharaohs who had been on the throne from the time of Joseph coming on the scene, were friendly with the Israelites. But along comes a new king who didn’t know Joseph, and had nothing to do with any agreement the Israelites might have had with previous Pharaohs:
“And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier then we:”
How would we feel as Americans, if we looked up one day and we were out-numbered by another nation, right here in our own country. We might get a little defensive, also. So you can see how the Pharaohs and Egyptians must have felt.
“Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.”
How many people do you suppose that Pharaoh and his Cabinet were looking at? Well I want you to forget the few thousand that were in the Movie – The Ten Commandants. It’s millions, and if you doubt me on that, let’s look at Numbers Chapter 22. Here in Numbers they have ended their 40 years of wandering, and Moses is leading them around to the Southeast of Canaan, through the land which was called Moab. And as they come across the land of Moab, their king gets just as worried as the Pharaohs did. I just want you to see where I get this figure of 3-7 million Israelites that will leave Egypt on the night of that Passover.
“And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, ‘Now shall this company of (Israelites) lick up all that are round about us, as the Ox licketh up the grass of the field…'”
“He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt (now watch the language): behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me:”
Of course, that’s a play on words, but, nevertheless, in later verses when the King of Moab took Balaam up into a high mountain, and told him to look, he said, “you can’t see the end of them.” They went beyond the horizon, even from a high place. Now that’s not a few thousand. That is millions. To give you an idea, Dallas and Fort Worth is approximately 3-4 million people. So when the children of Israel start their exodus from Egypt, I want you to picture something like Dallas/Fort Worth moving out all at once. Now, let’s turn to Numbers 26:
“Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers’ house, all that are able to go to war in Israel.”
“These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty.”
When you have a little time, sit down and do some calculation. Using your own logic, see what you come up with. As you see from verse 2, the 601,730 in verse 51, were not all the children of Israel, but only that select few that were able to go to war in Israel. Normally, an Israel soldier was between the ages of 20-30 years old. How many other family members would be involved for one soldier, unmarried, between 20-30 years old? So, in order to get 601,730 young men of military capabilities, you would have to have a minimum of 3,000,000 people total when you are taking into account parents, grandparents, sisters, and other brothers not qualified for military service. And remember, there was also a mixed multitude that came out with them. Consequently, always figure between 3-7 million came out of Egypt. So now let’s turn back to Exodus. In order to slow down this population explosion among the Israelites, we read:
“Therefore they (the Egyptians) did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.”
“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.”
“And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:”
“And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.”
“And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah.”
“And he said, ‘When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools (now, the word stools in the Hebrew was evidently a little hewn-out stone, where they would immediately wash the newborn); if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.'”
Now, if the baby was a boy, they were supposed to kill him. You might wonder, how in the world could people get the thought of such a thing. Well, you want to remember back there in Genesis 3:15, God said it in plain English to old Satan, that the Seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent which was Satan. So what is Satan going to do throughout the human race? He’s going to do all he can to keep this Seed of the woman from ever coming to fruition. That’s why Israel has suffered so many times throughout her history, almost a complete demolition of her people. Genocide, as we call it. You see, Satan was attempting to totally remove that group of people through whom the Savior, or the Messiah, must come. And so, even here, before Israel even gets into the land of promise, and gets started on all these promises associated with that Abrahamic Covenant, Satan is going to try to stop it in its tracks. His first ploy is to kill all the boy babies as they are born, with the excuse, of course, that they are multiplying too fast. Now let’s look at verse 17:
“But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.”
Let’s go back to Hebrews 11, because unless we comprehend what God’s Word says about the activities of these people, it probably just goes in one ear and out the other. But there’s more to it than that. It’s not just a story. This is a Biblical truth. It all helps build to the plan of salvation as we now know it today. In fact, when we get a little further into the Book of Exodus, we’re going to jump to the New Testament to show how clearly (beginning with the night of the Passover and their trip through the Red Sea) all this is a perfect illustration of our plan of salvation as we know it tonight. Hebrews 11, is a tremendous faith Chapter. We just read about Joseph so we might as well start with that one in verse 22:
“By faith… (That’s why Joseph said when you leave this place, take my bones with you. We always have to come back and define faith. You know, I get disturbed when I read or hear people say, “I’m of the Methodist faith, or Catholic faith, or this faith or that.” Please listen, that isn’t faith. That is not what the word “faith” means. Faith means taking God at His Word. In Romans Chapter 10 when it says, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
So, you cannot exercise faith until God speaks it! Joseph could not have faith in the fact that Israel would one day leave Egypt unless God had said they would! And knowing that’s what God said, Joseph could, with all the faith at his command say, “You take my bones with you because you’re going to leave. God said so!” And it’s that way in every aspect of how God deals with us. That when He says something, that’s when we have to believe it and not until. Now, let’s look at verse 23:
“By faith Moses, when was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw…”
Not through physical eyes, but through spiritual eyes. And they knew that what God had promised and what God had said, He would fulfill. And through those eyes of faith, they saw in this little infant, the working of God. And so they took their chances, and never forget – nothing happens by accident. This is all sovereignly unfolding as God has commanded it. Now, let’s go back to Exodus once again. We’ll finish Chapter 1 at least. Here, when the authorities find out that the midwives are not killing all the boy babies as they are supposed to, they come in verse 18 and say:
“…Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?”
“And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively (They are strong. You want to remember that God has had His hand on them.) and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.”
“Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.”
“And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.”
“And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.”
But, oh, listen, God is watching over His people, Israel. No one is going to destroy the nation of Israel tonight because they are God’s Covenant people.