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Exodus 1:1-22, Oppression of the Israelites

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”
— Exodus 1:10

NL Daily Devotion for Wednesday, September 26, 2018

by Rev. Stefanie Fauth, Clergy Stuff

What scares you?

For those in power, it’s those they oppress finding their way to power - or even just casting off the yolk of oppression.

Sometimes, the power we hold can be hard to understand.

Many people don’t understand what it means to have privilege based on the color of their skin - privilege is a word for those with more money or political power, right?

What we don’t understand is that privilege isn’t JUST about being the MOST powerful, it’s about the things we are used to without realizing it.

When people who are white are arrested, they can assume it wasn’t about the color of their skin.

When a man is followed by someone walking down the street, he probably doesn’t freak out about being raped.

When people point out our privileges, we get upset. Sometimes we are afraid - because when injustice is pointed out, it can feel really threatening to the world we thought we knew.

Pharaoh knows that he’s depending on the Israelites for his kingdom to run - and seeing their numbers freaks him out. He’s afraid of losing the privilege he carries, and he makes some pretty poor choices based on that fear.

What has fear caused you to do?

What can letting go of fear do? Will it help you learn? Grow? Make the world better instead of making choices based on fear?

Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:

Exodus 1:1-22

These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. The total number of people born to Jacob was seventy. Joseph was already in Egypt. Then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and that whole generation.But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites.The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”

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Earlier Event: September 25
Genesis 50:22-26, Joseph's Death
Later Event: September 27
Exodus 3:1-12, Moses at the Burning Bush