Out of Egypt

These words were the headlines of The Star on Saturday, 5th February 2011. They refer to the evacuation of 11,700 students (registered with the Malaysian Embassy in Cairo) from the continued anti-Mubarak demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria and other parts of Egypt.

The phrase OUT OF EGYPT occurs at least 100 times in the Bible. The story, in the biblical book of Exodus relates how God used Moses and Aaron to deliver the Israelites, who were being used as slaves, from the hands of the evil king Pharaoh.

The following four examples (from these 100 verses) concerning the Lord, our God, who brought the Israelites (and the Christians!) OUT OF EGYPT, demonstrate the following:

1. His love
Our forefathers went down into Egypt, and we lived there many years. The Egyptians mistreated us and our fathers, but when we cried out to the LORD, he heard our cry and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. (Numbers 20 : 15 -16a, NIV)

2. His power
We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (Deuteronomy 6:21, NIV)

3. His demand for holiness
I am the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. (Leviticus 11: 45, NIV)

4. His warning
Be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6 : 12, NIV)

In the New Testament, slavery is sometimes used as a picture of sin. In Galatians 4 : 3 -7, (NIV) Paul tells us how God has rescued us from the terrible grip of slavery:

3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Now we are no longer slaves. Our heavenly Father has adopted us and we have the tremendous privilege of being his children – his sons and his daughters.

And so the headlines in The Star refer to all of us who believe in Jesus, the Son of God, who, in his great love, has rescued us from slavery and brought us OUT OF EGYPT.

Postscript: I often wonder what Egyptian Christians think when they read in the book of Exodus how God condemned both the king and the nation, with a few notable exceptions, for their gross ill-treatment of the Israelites. What do they think when it is always OUT OF Egypt?

However, the Egyptian Christians can hold their heads high. Where did the angel of the Lord tell Joseph to take Mary and baby Jesus in order to escape from the wicked Herod the Great? EGYPT!

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