Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt.
Of course, things change. Spring converts into summer. Software is updated. We expect such changes. We adjust to them and move on. We often welcome change. It prevents boredom.
But sometimes, change is not wanted.
The onset of an illness, an accident, or the death of someone close to us, are unwelcome changes.
We know we must expect them. But they are not so easy to accept.
Then, there are the changes that we do not expect, do not want, and regret after they happen. Sometimes, they involve relationships.
Ancient Israel faced just such a change with the governing powers of Egypt.
An Israelite by the name of Joseph had once saved the nation of Egypt from starvation. So vital was his role that Pharoah elevated Joseph to one of the highest seats of power—and welcomed his family with appreciation.
The seventy family members from the land of Canaan were invited to stay as guests in Egypt. They were honored out of respect for what Joseph had done.
It was a warm relationship—until it changed.
We might fault the new king for not knowing Joseph’s vital role in Egypt’s past. But then, we know how easy it is to forget the roles foreigners played in our past.
How many remember the young Frenchman who played a critical role in our War for Independence? He was highly honored by us when he was alive. One hundred fifty years later, he still was highly regarded.
“Layfette, we are here!” American doughboys announced upon landing in France in World War One.
But today, few Americans even know that the cities called Fayetteville were named in honor of the young French soldier, Marquis de Lafayette.
Why, then, should we be surprised to learn that the Egyptian government didn’t know about a Joseph who had helped them out 400 years earlier?
From a favored position, the Israelites had fallen to become despised and feared in Egypt.
The same can happen to us. People that we once counted on, organizations that once appreciated us, and relationships that we once treasured can fade away. Friends can become enemies. Our sense of security can be shattered.
“Change and decay in all around, I see,” the hymnist laments.
The line of pharaohs had changed. Egypt had changed. The status of Israel had changed.
The God of Israel had not.
His promise was the same as always. His love was the same. So was his guarding presence.
The miraculous life-saving exodus from Egypt was proof of that.
The miraculous life-saving arrival of his Son into this world was greater proof.
The death and resurrection of his Son is the greatest proof.
It shows that we are free from the deadly grip of evil. We can scoff at its threat.
Jesus said it best, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
“O you who changes not, abide with me.” Amen.
- What changes concern us most?
- Has any dreaded change turned out to be a blessing?
- How did the disciples adjust to the changes that Good Friday brought?
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.