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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

January 18, 2024

Read to Read …Again

 

Daily Reading:  Exodus 1-3

 

Exodus 1:8

Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

 

“There’s a new Sheriff in town.”  That’s an old saying which communicates that changes are coming. Sure enough, in this situation they did, and the changes were not good for Israel. The nation of Israel sojourned for 430 years (Exodus 12:40). For 215 years they sojourned in Canaan followed by 215 years in Egypt. Hence the 430 years. In Egypt they prospered and were safeguarded by Joseph and his memory for 135 years. The final 80 years were characterized by bondage and hard labor (all dates taken from The Reese Chronological Bible).

 

Why point this out? Because when we simply casually read the Bible, which there is nothing wrong about that, we can sometimes be confused by not understanding how much time passes. Sometimes between paragraphs, sentences, or even a comma, hundreds of years, perhaps thousands, could have passed. Therefore, from time to time a chronological understanding may help in interpretation and the practical lessons found in the Bible. After all, remember Romans 15:4.  There we are told: For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. If we are to find comfort and patience from the accounts given in the Old Testament, we must sometimes understand how much time passed.

 

For example, from Exodus 1:8 (the new Pharoah) to Moses’ call in Exodus (the burning bush experience) about 80 years passed. In that time this king made the Israelites work in arduous conditions, tried to kill all male children born to the Israelites through the midwives, and when that didn’t work, a law was made causing all mothers to throw their baby boys into the river causing them to drown. This was a very difficult and sad time. So, God’s people did what God’s people do, they cried and prayed unto their God. For 80 years they cried unto Him. He answered, but think about it… 80 years praying for help. Even after Moses’ call and commission it was another couple of years before Israel exited Egypt.

 

It may be that there is something or several somethings in your life you are praying about. Things that have not been answered yet, though you have prayed about them many times. Continue to pray. Pray without ceasing. Pray, pray, and pray again. Don’t stop praying. God will hear, and in His timing He will answer.

 

Also notice the fourfold actions of God in relation to Israel’s cries unto him. He heard their groaning. He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked on them.  He had respect unto them.  But they waited 80 years or more. We pray today and want Him to answer tomorrow. Sometimes though the Lord has to work some things out behind the scenes. Moses had to be born and had to grow into the man God could use. Moses spent forty years being somebody (Pharoah’s adopted grandson), forty years being nobody in Midian, and forty years being God’s body (totally dedicated). For those first 80 years, Israel had to wait.

 

Perhaps this sheds new light on the importance of verses like James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. An Old Testament story teaching us a New Testament lesson that we may find patience and comfort from the Scriptures.

 

William T. Howe Ph.D.

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