Genesis 29 - Exodus 12
In Genesis 46 Jacob is travelling to Egypt with 11 of his sons to be with Joseph because of the famine in the land and Joseph has the ability to provide for his family in Egypt. This means Israel is leaving the land of Abraham and Isaac that was given to them by God to go somewhere else. God tells Jacob, "I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again."
If Jacob and his family had stayed in the land of his father’s they would have died from the famine that would last 5 more years. However, as people who know the rest of the story - we know that this journey to Egypt is not going to be a short or pleasant one. The Israelites will remain in Egypt for over 400 years before God brings them out. In that time Joseph will die and the favor he knew from the Pharaoh with him. The Israelites will become an enslaved and oppressed people in Egypt. However, they will also greatly increase in number. They'll become like grains of sand or the stars in the sky if you will.
My question as I read the passage in Genesis 46 was, "Why send them to a place where they sill suffer generations of slavery?" And God answered that question by showing me these verses:
Ex 6:6-7 "I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God!"
Ex 9:16 (In reference to the plagues on Egypt and the Pharaoh) "I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you m y power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
Ex 10:1-2 "I have hardened [Pharaoh’s] heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my sings among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD."
And then - the plan all along - the final plague was the killing of the firstborn except for the houses which were covered in the blood of a lamb.
It's all about His glory. It's all about making sure that the Israelites know exactly who their God is. They need to understand that He is great and powerful. That He loves them and will protect them. My modern self finds it hard to stop from going, "But, God, surely there was a nicer way you could've done that!" But at times I just need to accept that this powerful God who sends plagues is my God. If they had never went to Egypt - they would never have seen that type of power from God. And of course- the plagues is just God getting started. There's a sea to cross, bread from heaven, pillars of fire, and crumbling walls up ahead. These are stories that will form the foundation of the Jewish faith. Intermingled in these are prophecies of a coming messiah - and illustration for just what that messiah will do. Freedom from an outstretched arm. Safety under the blood of a pure and sacrificial lamb.
The attribute of God that I've been most connected to over the past couple of years is God as a poet. Someone who sees symbolism and metaphor and has the ability to weave a tale with small details that make all the difference. As much I don't understand certain ways and decisions of how God formed and taught the nation of Israel - there's so much I do get about it. About why it had to be that way - about how it all serves a purpose to illustrate the need for and the coming of the Messiah.