Everyone I know has favorite Bible verses. I am sure if I were to ask you what your favorite verse was you would have no problem in reciting it to me.
But what if I asked you what your least favorite verse was? Most people I know have never really given any thought to what their least favorite verse is in the Bible. I, however, have given this question a lot of thought. My least favorite verse in the entire Bible is Exodus 1:8:
"Now there rose up a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph."
The reason I bring this up in my blog this week is because the subject is so relevant to the times and season we are living in. Just think about the context of this verse: G-D had used Joseph to save Egypt and by extension the whole known world from famine.
Not only had Joseph been raised to a position of power, but he also was raised to that position of second only to the king as a Jew. Now we find a turning point in Egypt where the new king didn't know Joseph. How can this be?
In approximately 400 years, the people of Israel went from the people who saved Egypt and caused Egypt to become the most powerful nation on the earth, to people this king of Egypt considered enemies. It should not be missed that one of the actions of the Egyptian king in his efforts to destroy the people who had brought salvation to his people was infanticide.
So let's look a little deeper into what has happened here and see if we see any other similarities to today, and if there may be lessons we can learn from this experience.
First, we think about what the Israelites were still doing in Egypt when the famine was over in seven years. They chose to live in Egypt instead of going back to their homeland, the land of promise.
Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers but the rest of Israel volunteered to be slaves. Their slavery began with assimilation into Egyptian culture and it ended with Egyptian slavery. Israel was in Egypt because they chose to be in Egypt. Sin brought them to Egypt and sin kept them in Egypt.
The truth is, the reason the king didn't know Joseph was because Israel had become so much a part of Egypt that their light of testimony had nearly gone out. They were still identifiably Israel, but no longer identifiable as the people of G-D. The children of Israel had prospered so much in Egypt that their blessings had become their curse.
Exodus 1:8 is so important for us to consider and pray about today because in many ways believers in Yeshua (Jesus) have become exactly like the people of Egypt. We have become so worldly in how we live that our light of testimony has nearly gone out. The body of believers has become complacent in Egypt. We are supposed to be in the world but not of this world. However, too many teachers and preachers have become satisfied with living in Goshen. Especially in the United States, we have prospered and assimilated just as the children of Israel did in Egypt. If we don't wake up quickly to this truth, we will find ourselves confronted by a king that knew not Joseph.
Please remember the reason a king arose was because Israel had spiritually declined. The king didn't remember Joseph because Joseph's people had forgotten G-D and His covenants. Evil rose because righteousness fell.
The body of Messiah today is a at a crossroad. Politically and culturally a king has risen that knows not Joseph. This king is attacking people of faith. This king is calling for the murder of babies. This king wants the complete subjugation of the people of G-D to the ways of worldliness. But we should not blame the evil and the darkness on the king any more than we should blame the evil and darkness of Egypt on the king that arose in Exodus 1:8.
The blame for this evil and darkness falls entirely on the body of Messiah today. According to the Bible, light drives out darkness (see John 1:5) and greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). So if the world is being overtaken by sin and unrighteousness, it is because we have assimilated so much that the world no longer sees us as a means of salvation but rather as an enemy.
The reason Exodus 1:8 is my least favorite verse is because it reminds me of a time when the only thing that could bring Israel to a place of crying out to G-d was hatred over slavery and infanticide. This unfortunately seems to be exactly where the body of Messiah is living today. If you don't believe me, take a moment today to read the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context.
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