Today’s reading is Exodus 1-3 (The Message) and Matthew 24:1-28 (The Message)
There is a children’s book series entitled, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket. These stories follow the adventures of three young children that have recently become orphaned. They lost their parents in a tragic and mysterious house fire. The children are ushered off from guardian to guardian while the evil Count Olaf tries to convince the powers that be to put the children in his care. The evil Count Olaf is after the fortune that was left to the children by their parents. Now, each tale seems to show a ray of hope in it. Most of the time this is when the children are taken to a new guardian that although unusual is the perfect new mom or dad for three kids that have been through a very traumatic experience. The newly formed family begins to get into a routine and the reader is able to give a “sigh” of relief that the children are safe. Then. WHAM. Some how the new caregiver dies under odd circumstances. The evil Count Olaf just happens to be nearby lurking over the children. Usually, at this point my anxiety shoots through the roof and I throw the book across the room.
Seriously. I know the kids are fictional but they have suffered enough.
I’m seeing a similar pattern here with Jacob’s family. Hasn’t everyone been through enough drama. I mean earlier in the book Jacob had to endure the loss of his son Joseph. His older brothers threw him in a well, sold him to strangers, and staged his death. So much for brotherly love. Then a famine hits Egypt and Jacob has to be wondering how the family will survive this trial. He sends his sons to Pharaoh’s place because the new advisor (enter the staged dead son Joseph) has prepared for the famine. Suddenly, the story takes an uplifting turn. Joseph is reunited with his family and the whole crew moves to be closer to their brother. All parties that needed to apologize do and everyone that could forgive did. All is looking up for God’s chosen people. I mean they ARE on the good side of Pharaoh – the most powerful man in Egypt. Then. WHAM.
After Joseph and his brother have died off, a new Pharaoh takes control. Guess what. He’s never heard of Joseph. He doesn’t know or care how God’s chosen people have served the royal line. However, the new guy does seem concerned that the foreigners are rapidly multiplying. Now if he had a Joseph that was communicating with God next to his ear, this wouldn’t be a problem. The God-fearing advisor would simply say, “Pharaoh. Pharaoh. Calm yourself. Since the days of Noah God has ordered us to multiply and be fruitful. So you see, God is behind our population increase. Nothing to be scared about as long as you don’t interfere with God’s plans.” This of course isn’t what happens. The Pharaoh puts the people under hard labor and tries to eliminate their race. Anxieties are back up and it’s time to chuck the book across the room.
The thought and comfort I have through this series of unfortunate events is that God’s way will trump everything. Even though pharaoh tried his best to rid the earth of a whole race, God made sure that they continued to flourish. I’m sure that it didn’t seem so to them at the time. Living a life of hard forced labor seems about as comforting as telling a prisoner in a Nazi work camp that they shouldn’t worry because the Jewish race won’t be completely eliminate. However, amidst the chaos it is undeniable that God is watching out for His people despite the efforts of evil men. Pharaoh wanted the midwives to kill the baby boys. God provided two midwives that would respect Him and not do the dastardly deed despite what consequences may ensue. I think the pattern that I’m seeing here encourages me to be vigilant in times when my life feels like it’s in a tailspin to look for the signs of where God is taking care of me.
What do you think? Is there encouragement to be found? Is it all relative? If God’s way trumps man’s actions, does that make you feel like a robot?