And the Lord made His people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes. He turned their hearts to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants." - Psalm 105:24-25
God is in control. He can make His people multiply and prosper. He can also turn the hearts of others against His people. He has done it before. In Egypt, He turned the hearts of Pharoah and the Egyptian people against Israel.
The people must have wondered why their neighbors had turned against them. They were good citizens. They were a blessing to Egypt and had caused the country to prosper. Why were they suddenly unwelcome, persecuted, treated with suspicion and even enslaved?
But God had a plan. It was time for them to leave Egypt, become a separate, unique nation, and go to the place that He had promised to give them. They had become too comfortable with being Egyptians and would never have left voluntarily.
If they didn’t leave, they would have simply been absorbed into Egyptian society. There would be no Israel, there would be no Messianic line, and there would be no Savior. The cruel treatment of Israel by the Egyptians was necessary for our salvation.
Why are Christians suddenly unwelcome in our world? In politics, in academia, in business, even on the Internet we find that identifying as a follower of Jesus can be the end of your career. Who would have thought that we would see this day? We wonder why God has allowed this to happen.
Maybe He didn’t allow it. Maybe He engineered it. Maybe He has His purpose in separating us from the world and setting us apart. Maybe we have become too comfortable with the world and begun to forget who we are. Maybe He’s getting us ready to leave.
Lord, You have called us to be a “peculiar people,” a kingdom of priests, Your own special possession. Forgive the ways that we have compromised with the world. Forgive us for getting our eyes off of what You have promised and setting them on what this world offers. Keep my heart close to You. Prepare me for departure, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Pastor Dan Giles