God’s People in the World

September 17, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Exodus | 4 Comments
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The name of the Book of Exodus refers to the idea of “going out:” exiting. In Hebrew, though, it was called “Names” or the “Book of Names” because of the way it starts.

Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.

Exodus 1:1

The children of Israel were “God’s people” – also known as Hebrews, Jews, or sometimes Semites, descended from Shem, one of Noah’s sons. They were the descendants of Abram/Abraham.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Genesis 12:1-2 (emphasis added)

However, at the beginning of Exodus they could have hardly been considered a “great nation.”

And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.

Exodus 1:5

Jacob was Abraham’s grandson, and Jacob’s son, Joseph, had been providentially moved into authority in Egypt. It was there that the children of Israel began to prosper and multiply, because God was keeping His promise.

Exodus begins with the word “now” (used as a synonym for “and”) to let us know that this is a continuation of what happened in Genesis. The children of Israel were blessed by God, but they were in the “world,” which is symbolized by Egypt. God’s people will always be oppressed by the world in the world – unless they act like they are of the world (which we are forbidden from doing). Christians should live like ships sailing on the sea. The best place for a ship is not in dry-dock. It is “on” (on top of) the sea (the world). We do well on top of the sea, but if the sea gets into us, we begin to ride low in the water, take on more and more water, and eventually sink into ineffectiveness and tragedy. Christians should not live like monks, completely separate from the world, but neither should we immerse ourselves in the sin promoted by this world’s system. The Jewish people were hard-working and a blessing to Egypt’s economy, but they could not be absorbed into Egypt, which was a culture of false gods and death.


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  1. […] – without Godly intentions – on the coattails of God’s returning people. Christians must interact with worldly people, but we must not partake in their sinful […]

  2. […] 1. God’s People in the World (Exodus 1) 2. Moses as a Type of Christ (Exodus 1-2) 3. How God Prepares Leaders (Exodus 2-3) 4. When It’s Time to Cut Loose (Exodus 2, 4:21-26) 5. What Is God Like? (Exodus 3, 15:11) 6. Don’t Beat around the Bush (Exodus 3-4) 7. Spiritual Arteriosclerosis (Exodus 4, 7-11, 14) 8. This Is Not a Negotiation (Exodus 5, 7, 8, 10, 14) 9. Beware False Finger-Pointing (Exodus 5) 10. The Manager Who Thought He Was an Owner (Exodus 7:5; Luke 20:9-16) 11. Knowing that He Is the Lord (Exodus 7, 8, 14) 12. Smiting the Gods (Exodus 7-8) 13. Outer Darkness and Inner Darkness (Exodus 10) 14. Evil Angels (Exodus 11-12) 15. The Passover: Killing, Purging, and Eating (Exodus 12) 16. The Lambs that Were Silenced but Still Speak Today (Exodus 12) 17. Remembering the Garlic (Exodus 12-13; Numbers 11:4-10) 18. The Why behind the What and the How (Exodus 13) 19. A Three-Item To-Do List before Leaving Egypt Behind (Exodus 13) 20. Two Miracles: A Parted Sea and a Hardened Heart (Exodus 14) 21. Delaying Dutifully During Deliverance (Exodus 14) 22. Poetry, Dancing, and the Wondrous Fear of God (Exodus 15) 23. When the Lord Becomes Your Song (Exodus 15) 24. Omniscience, Obstacles, Opportunities, and Overruling Oversight (Exodus 15-16) 25. The Bookends of Faith (Part 1) (Exodus 3:13-14, 16; John 6:26-51) 26. How to Raise Your Hand During a Test (Exodus 17) 27. A Busy Time-Out (Exodus 18-19) 28. Three Reasons for Ten Commandments (Revelatory) (Exodus 20) 29. Three Reasons for Ten Commandments (Restrictive) (Exodus 20) 30. Three Reasons for Ten Commandments (Reflective) (Exodus 20) 31. Three Words about God: His Supremacy, His Image, and His Name (Exodus 20:1-7) 32. A Fourth Word about God: His Rest (Exodus 20:3-11) 33. Teaching the 3rd and 4th Commandments to Children (Exodus 20:7-8) * 34. Catechism Question 2 (Exodus 20:11) 35. The Horizontal Words (Exodus 20:12-17) 36. Frightening Words (Exodus 20:18-20) 37. Reverence as a Warning Against Idolatry (Exodus 20:18-26) 38. A Justice Sandwich (Exodus 21) 39. Properly Promoting the Principle of Personal Property (Exodus 22) 40. A Revelation of a Violation against Revilation (Exodus 22:28) 41. Peer Pressure and Robin Hood Theology Exposed (Exodus 23:2-3) 42. The Forbidden Recipe and the Special Angel (Exodus 23:19-21, 20:22-23) 43. A Bloody Confirmation and Covenant (Exodus 23-24) 44. Restriction and Freedom in Worship (Exodus 24-25) 45. Worship Is about Sacrifice (Exodus 26-28) 46. Oh be Careful, Little Ears, Thumbs, and Toes (Exodus 29) 47. The True Consecration (Exodus 29-31) 48. Why We Can, and Cannot, Have Nice Things (Exodus 31-32) 49. Syncretism and Sexual Sin (Exodus 32:5-6) 50. Corrupt Curving off Course (Exodus 32:7-9) 51. The Intercessory Prayer of Moses (Exodus 32:10-13) 52. The Personality of God (Exodus 32, 14:12) 53. When the Word of God Crashes the Party (Exodus 32:15-20) 54. The Consequences of Partying Naked (Exodus 32:21-25) 55. The Great Peradventure (Exodus 32:26-30) 56. God’s Unassisted Bookkeeping (Exodus 32:31-35) 57. What Moses Really Wanted from God (Exodus 33) 58. Catechism Question 13 (Exodus 33:20) 59. The Relief and Terror of God’s Presence (Exodus 34) 60. Unveiled Glory and Unguarded Giving (Exodus 34-35; II Corinthians 3:7-18) 61. Up to Spec (Exodus 35-38) 62. Command-Fulfillment Pattern (Exodus 35-40) 63. The Tabernacle Completed, Inspected, and Turned over to the Owner (Exodus 40) […]

  3. […] job! Stay mobile!” No, this was a situation more like the ancient Israelites during the Egyptian years than during the […]

  4. […] Of course, God knew it was unlikely that they would do what He told them to do, so He also sent a warning about what would happen if they didn’t, and, of course (remember, these were the “bad figs”), they broke their promise, and decided they would take their chances in Egypt. God’s people, in times of trouble in the Old Testament, seemed to have a weird, almost fetishistic fascination with Egypt, which is why Egypt is a picture of what the “world” is to New Testament Christians. […]

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