A Little History Lesson

Having caught a mountain top glimpse of the amazing earthly kingdom of the God-Man (Zech 14:9), we are ready for a history lesson. As mentioned earlier, the future kingdom began with Noah’s prophecy concerning Shem and Japheth (Gen. 9:25-29) and God’s promise to Abraham  to treat kindly those who treated Abraham kindly, and deal harshly with those who dealt harshly with the Abraham’s family (Gen. 12:3). God is the architect of all history. He recorded history in advance because He knew that the Jews (and us) were hardheaded and quick to forget God and give paganism praise (Isa. 46:9-10; 48:3-5). The familiar statement, “God works in mysterious ways,” is true. But God’s “mysterious ways” are recorded for us in the Bible so they are not mysterious at all. Abraham’s family (Isaac, Ishmael, Esau, and Jacob) grew in Canaan. The family of Jacob’s (Israel’s) twelve sons became a small clan. They needed to grow into a great nation.
God had a plan! He caused a famine throughout the land and famines were bad news. He wanted to use the famine to move the Jews into Egypt so they could grow into a larger nation of people. This fulfilled the prophecy He had given to Abraham (Gen. 15:13). What happened is truly incredible. Joseph – Jacob’s favorite son was hated by his brothers. They knew their father favored him (coat of many colors) and he was always squealing on them (never good). Jacob sent Joseph to find his brothers (not a good move) and report to him (the brothers knew). The brothers saw him coming (could not miss the coat) and conceived a dastardly plan. They beat Joseph up and threw him in a pit. This was horrible but it got worse. His brothers sold him into slavery to a group of Midianites headed for Egypt, which was horrific. The brothers lied to their father saying that Joseph had been killed. Life became a painful time for a dad and a whirlwind nightmare for his young son.
God always has a plan! Joseph had been suddenly removed from his happy home of security and peace into a rapid sequence of truly bizarre, heart-wrenching events: some bad, some good. But then – amazingly and miraculously, Joseph ended up the second in command over all of Egypt. What! This allowed Joseph to help move Israel into the land of Goshen in Egypt, giving his entire family the peace and prosperity necessary for them to grow. God is the genius of all history! His brilliance shouts to us through Joseph’s words later spoken to his disloyal brothers. “You sold me here, but God sent me before you to preserve life” (Gen. 45:5). You sold; God sent! Amazing!
God put a tremendous exclamation point on the entire life of Joseph and his brothers (which I believe in some shape is every believer’s story) with these truly searching words “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20). God is the only Being capable of not being the author of evil and at the same time using evil for His good. How is this translated for us today? God works all things in our lives for His glory and our ultimate good (Rom. 8:28). Incredible!
Eventually, a new pharaoh came on the scene who did not know Joseph (Ex. 1:8). God began to stir the pot again! The pharaohs feared the astonishing growth of Israel and brought slavery into their lives – lest they rebel! Astoundingly, God used painful work to toughen his people, preparing them for a long and treacherous journey ahead. God never makes mistakes! Then it came time to move.
God miraculously deployed a man named Moses for the task of leading the Jews back home. Our Lord pummeled Egypt with a series of potent plagues – the last of which was the death of the firstborn of every family. Death is man’s most feared enemy! But God gave hope. Every Jewish family – and the Egyptians if they would listen – was to select a lamb of the highest quality. They were to kill it at a specific time and place its blood around the door of their homes. God sent His angel of death to search for the blood. When the Angel saw the blood, He would pass over that family and the firstborn would live. No blood – no life (Ex. 12)! This became a glimpse of God’s redemption of another group of people through the shed blood of His Special Lamb – the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ who was sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:7).
Pharaoh had enough. He let God’s people go! Across the Red Sea they went, then through the desert, and eventually back home, into the Promised Land. The reason behind all this? God chose this nation. He chose them to be a holy people to Himself. Why did He choose them? He chose them because He chose to choose them. He loved them! Why did He love them? He loved them because He chose to love them. His choice was not based upon any human qualities, but He had made a promise and He would never go back on His word (Deut. 7:6-8). God chose them to be a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth (Deut. 14:2). God called them “My elect in whom My Soul delights” (Isa. 42:1). God included the promise of His kingdom to the Jews.
“I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there” (Isa. 65:9).
“They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (Isa. 65:22).
“For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special treasure” (Psa. 135:4).
“He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye – I love this small line. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming, and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord. “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall become My people [this is us], and I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. And the Lord will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused from His holy habitation” (Zech. 2:8, 10-13).
Be silent indeed! Blessings!