Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” (Exodus 1:8-10)
In the years after the death of Joseph, fundamental changes began to take place in Egypt. This “new king” the Bible speaks of suggests that there was a change in Egyptian dynasties and, consequently, Egyptian policies. One of the major changes was the fact that this new administration disregarded and ignored Joseph’s enormous contributions to the stability and wealth of Egypt. Jewish commentary tells us that the new king felt that what Joseph had done was outdated and no longer mattered. Furthermore, this new king determined that the prosperity the Hebrews had gained in the land had been stolen from Egypt and, so, he set out to recover it.
He began to characterize Israel as a growing threat to Egypt and its lifestyle. To him and his people, it seemed that Egypt was full of Israelites which was a frightening prospect for him and those with him. The problem this presented to Egypt, according to what we read, was that the Israelites were useful to the economy but still needed to be restrained. He wanted to destroy them, and at the same time, not allow them to leave Egypt until they were used up. In short, he considered the Hebrews to be outsiders even though they had been there for over a century and herein lies the issue: Pharaoh saw them as outsiders but the Hebrews saw themselves as Egyptians.
Thus we are reminded that wherever we were born and wherever we have been raised, if we belong to Messiah, we are citizens of another kingdom. Eventually all kingdoms and nations will fade in power and will have to concede to the fact that the Kingdom of God is supreme and all-powerful. As God begins to shake those nations, it is imperative that God’s people remember who they are in Messiah. If we do not see ourselves first and foremost as His, then He will allow a “new king” to rise up and provoke us to remember who we are. In other words, if we are not willing to live a set apart life of our own volition, He will install rulers and tyrants who will set us apart against our will. Why would we allow such? Because the promises He has made to us through Moses, the prophets and Messiah are about to come to pass. Don’t be discouraged; look up.
Blessings and Shalom,