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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