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Devotion for February 01, 2008

Devotions

The book Evidence Not Seen tells the story of Darlene Deibler Rose, an American missionary during World War II. She and her husband, along with their colleagues, were captured by the Japanese army, and some of the captives died in the prison camps during the years they were detained. Despite horrific suffering and great tragedy, Darlene remained strong in her trust in God. Her story illustrates extraordinary faith and God’s miraculous faithfulness in trials.

As we consider our own legacy, we’re inspired by stories like this. This month we’ll study another story of faith and courageous leadership—the story of Moses.

We wouldn’t be fair to the truth of the biblical text to claim that it is a story of one man. The story of Moses features divine providence at center stage, not human heroism. Moses plays an important role in God’s story, but as we shall see this month, Moses’ actions apart from the work of God could not produce the miraculous results for his people.

Our text today illustrates how God’s presence permeates the story. His blessing was clearly seen in the population explosion of the Israelites following the death of Joseph. The language of verse seven echoes God’s blessing pronounced in the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen. 1:28), to Noah (cf. Gen. 9:1), and once again to Abraham (cf. Gen. 17:2). The promises He had made to these men—promises to multiply their offspring—were being fulfilled. God had neither forgotten nor neglected His people.

That is important reassurance as we read about the tragic turn of events in verse eight. God’s people were suffering unjustly as they were forced into slave labor and threatened by a murderous royal edict. Despite the cruel plots of Pharaoh, God protected His people. In fact, it seems that no human action could thwart God’s work of rescue in this opening chapter. Though the Egyptians attempted to wipe out the Hebrews, God’s people not only survived—they thrived (v. 12).

Apply the Word

As readers of this chapter, we see God’s intervention in the Hebrews’ suffering. But the Hebrew slaves didn’t have this vantage point, and no doubt many of them wondered, “Where is God?” We are often unaware of much of the “behind-the-scenes” action. What would it be like to know of the moments in our lives when God has protected us? When God has provided? Ask God for eyes of faith to see His invisible work in your own life and to trust Him when you don’t understand the events in your life.

BY Jennifer Michel

Jen Pollock Michel is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Her first book, Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith, is published by InterVarsity Press. Jen earned her BA in French from Wheaton College and her MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and five children, and serves on staff at Grace Toronto Church.

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