Egypt Is In the News!
As some of you may have read on my Facebook page, I had begun the initial planning for a readers’ tour of Egypt–before all their political unrest flashed across our TV screens on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and every other news station on the planet.
For months my heart had been stirred to experience the land of pyramids and Pharaohs. As my study of Egypt intensified, so did my conviction that every Christ-follower should know more about it. Here’s why…
Reason #1 – God “Grew” Israel There
Abraham went to Egypt during a famine (Gen. 12:10). Isaac considered it, but the LORD specifically forbade him to enter Egypt during the famine of his day (Gen. 26:2). Then there was Jacob—oh, my. His sons sold their brother Joseph to Midianite merchants, and Joseph spent nearly fifteen years as a Hebrew slave in Egypt–one of the most sophisticated cultures on earth.
Then almost overnight—Joseph became vizier, second in power only to Pharaoh himself. When the LORD allowed famine to drive Jacob’s family into Egypt, his sons’ treachery was exposed, and Jacob was forced to seek God’s guidance: “Do I leave the LORD’s promised land to go to Egypt for food?” God answered Jacob:
“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.” Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him…With the two sons who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all.” Gen. 46:3-5, 27
Jacob entered Egypt with a family of seventy (some translations: seventy-seven). Exodus 12:37 tells us that 400 years later, approximately 600,000 Israelite men (that number doesn’t include women and children) left Egypt after Yahweh’s Death-Angel killed Egyptian firstborns during the tenth plague.
Egypt In Scripture
The Exodus was perhaps THE single-most important formative event in Israel’s history.
- It’s mentioned 614 times in Scripture.
- 27 times in the New Testament:
- Matt. 2 – Joseph hid Mary and Jesus there, when Herod ordered all babies killed in Bethlehem.
- Acts 7 – Stephen recounted Israel’s history, including their sojourn in Egypt, moments before he was stoned for his strong testimony of faith in Christ.
- The writer of Hebrews refers often to Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage while explaining Christ’s powerful work on the Cross and His continuing work of intercession and deliverance for all sinners.
Egypt is a place God’s Word emphasizes in both the Old and New Covenants. It embodied not just a location but a condition in which God worked with His people.
Reason #2 – Nowhere on Earth Preserves Records Better
Have you ever cut down an old tree and counted the rings to determine its age? Ever wondered what that tree might have seen since seedling days? Have you ever climbed a mountain and reached for a rock, wondering what stories it could tell? These are elements that last—rock longer than wood—both may last longer than me (there’s a happy thought—ugh). My point is…Egypt’s arid climate makes it the perfect place to preserve ancient records. The dry heat of Egyptian underground tombs has preserved both human remains and man-made objects.
But it wasn’t just the climate that made Egypt the perfect place to preserve Israel’s history. Egypt was one of the (if not THE) most meticulous record-keeping cultures in history. If Yahweh wanted His story told—and He did—He chose the perfect culture to educate and maintain His people. Records show that some Egyptian slaves held high-ranking governmental positions and would have been educated in the most advanced culture of the day.
Egypt’s systems and sciences are something every Christian should explore.
Reason #3 – Egyptians Were Unique and Separate
The Greeks of 7th Century B.C., who were frequent visitors of the Nile Valley, were astonished by a civilization every bit as advanced as their own—highly populated towns, ginormous temples, and people who showed NO resemblance to other citizenship around the world. The famous historian, Herodotus, put it this way:
“Not only is the climate different from that of the rest of the world, and the rivers unlike any other rivers, but the people also, in most of their manners and customs, exactly reverse the common practice of mankind.”
So, think about it. Why did Yahweh place His chosen people in EGYPT for 400 years—as slaves?
Because He wanted them to learn the art of separateness.
When Yahweh spoke from Mt. Sinai, He commanded Israel to remain SEPARATE from other nations, to be different, holy, set apart. After serving the Egyptians for 400 years, Israel should have understood this concept.
No other culture worshipped Egypt’s gods, but Egypt didn’t care. Egypt was surrounded by enemies on every side—many of them larger, better-equipped, and more battle-wise. Didn’t matter. Egypt fought—and they won. Egypt had an arrogance about them. Entitlement. An innate pride and assurance of their worth—simply because they were Egyptian.
Why didn’t the Israelites—the chosen people of Almighty God—obey Yahweh’s Sinai command? They’d watched Egypt rebuff other nations’ influence, but Israel never seemed to embrace all the benefits that Yahweh’s favor offered. Imagine what they could have become if they’d realized their place as God’s chosen people. Imagine what you and I could become if we fully embraced the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit.
Egypt is a place that reminds every Christian of what a people separate unto the Lord can become.
- Why did Yahweh choose EGYPT as the site of Israel’s captivity for 400 years?
- Check out 3 reasons every Christian should study Egypt!
- Egypt embodied not just a location but a condition in which God worked with His people.
- What is most interesting to you about Egypt?