Yesterday we concluded our time in Genesis, and today we move into Exodus. The book opens with a review of how the Hebrews came to Eygpt because of Joseph. It started with Joseph’s brothers and their families, but after their deaths, their descendants multiplied.
Exodus 1:7 tells us, “But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.” (ESV)
Though Joseph was held in high esteem by the Pharaoh, a new king took over, and he didn’t remember Joseph. He feared the Israelites because they were more and mightier than the Egyptians, so he tried to subdue them.
The Egyptians tried to break the Israelites by placing taskmasters over them and afflicting them with burdens. They forced the Israelites to build cities, making their lives bitter with hard bondage.
And yet, despite all their harsh treatment, a strange thing happened. It backfired.
Verse 12 says, “But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.”
Throughout Genesis we saw women of God who were barren, unable to bear children. But here, in the land of Egypt, the women were greatly fruitful, bearing many children. As their conditions deteriorated with the Egyptians, God balanced it with large and strong families.
We like to think that if God is on our side, we’ll never face hardships, but that’s not how God works. He allows us to go through difficult times in order to strengthen us. In the midst of our struggles, He is hard at work providing blessings for us. The key is in focusing on the blessings instead of getting bogged down by the burdens.
Hebrew Women in Egypt in Scripture: Exodus 1