Sometimes provision doesn’t look like protection. We didn’t get the job we wanted. A relationship didn’t work out. Our plans were interrupted. What is provided for us falls short of what we hoped and dreamed. Is there a grief and lament to this? Absolutely! In addition, there may be a protection that we weren’t aware of.
When famine hit the people of Israel, God prepared a place with food and provision for them. He made a way for Joseph to care for his family and the nation of Israel. So, Abraham’s descendants, now a people known as the Israelites or the Hebrews, moved into Egypt (Genesis 50:22–26).
The Israelites flourished in Egypt. They thrived so much that they became a threat to the new Pharaoh in power. To curb their growing strength, Pharaoh forced the Israelites to be the slave laborers of Egypt. Not only were they slaves, but because they were so numerous, Pharaoh tried to cut off any possible uprising through the infanticide of every young Israelite boy (Exodus 1:6–10, 22). What a twist and turn! Famine and flourishing, and now infanticide and slavery.
In the midst of this, we find some amazing women. Midwives who honored God (Exodus 1:15–21). A mother who trusted the future of her newborn son to God. A sister who shrewdly watched her baby brother land in the arms of a person of power. And a baby boy who was then raised in the care of women in power (Exodus 2:1–10). This boy would be the one God would call on to lead his people.
The Exodus story would not exist without failure and frustration. But God’s faithfulness and protection would carry the Israelites, just as God’s faithfulness and protection had carried the people before.
Eventually, Moses would have a conversation with God on Mount Sinai and God would say to him, “‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel” (Exodus 19:5–6).
In addition to being for the people of Israel, God’s faithfulness would continue so that others might know his great love and mercy.