Eternal Life is Worth Earthly Hardship.
But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves. (Exodus 1:12-14 ESV)
What is celebrated in one generation may barely be tolerated in the next. Jacob and his sons had come to Egypt to escape the ravaging famine. Through an act of miraculous benevolence Joseph, the son Jacob had believed to be dead, brought his family to a place of protection and provision. The saved had become the savior.
But, in the words of Moses, as he would later tell the story in his memoirs: “Joseph and his generation died, and there arose a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph.”
The seventy people who had come to Egypt as seemingly insignificant shepherds had grown to be a huge percentage of the populace of that region. They were, as it were, a nation within a nation. To this new, insecure king the heirs of Israel were a threat. So he enslaved them.
Two groups of people who have endured as much or more persecution as any on the earth are Jews and Christians. That statement is not intended to lessen the significance of any other group who has faced the brutality of slavery, but it is to recognize that satan himself has personally stewarded horrific evils on Jews and Christians in an effort to preempt the power and Person of Jesus Christ from bringing freedom to all mankind.
Even a casual reading of the Old and New Testaments will reveal that God’s people are often persecuted. In fact, Jesus Himself declared it would be so.
Yet, despite persecution, the church still grows stronger. Perhaps because of it.
Just as the family and emerging nation of Israel experienced in the days of Moses, we, the church of Jesus Christ, will face unfairness, cruelty, harshness, and even death. Yet we retain hope. Our Savior is soon coming to bring justice.
Perhaps you are facing injustices and are being mistreated. Whether it is being overlooked for a position in your company or turned down by a friend, your experience may not be as harsh as slavery, yet it stings nonetheless.
Fix your eyes on Jesus. Not only is He the author of your faith, He is it’s finisher as well. Justice may or may not come in this lifetime, but it is coming.
Eternal life is worth earthly hardship.
Would you encourage your people with hope and joy today? May we see Jesus no matter what we must endure.
In Jesus’ name, amen.