The Story of Redemption


Israel Influenced by their Environment

The Egyptians had learned the expectations of the children of Israel and derided their hopes of deliverance and spoke scornfully of the power of their God. They pointed them to their own situation as a people, as merely a nation of slaves, and tauntingly said to them, If your God is so just and merciful, and possesses power above the Egyptian gods, why does He not make you a free people? Why not manifest His greatness and power, and exalt you? SR 113.3

The Egyptians then called the attention of the Israelites to their own people, who worshiped gods of their own choosing, which the Israelites termed false gods. They exultingly said that their gods had prospered them, and had given them food and raiment and great riches, and that their gods had also given the Israelites into their hands to serve them, and that they had power to oppress them and destroy their lives, so that they should be no people. They derided the idea that the Hebrews would ever be delivered from slavery. SR 114.1

Pharaoh boasted that he would like to see their God deliver them from his hands. These words destroyed the hopes of many of the children of Israel. It appeared to them very much as the king and his counselors had said. They knew that they were treated as slaves, and that they must endure just that degree of oppression their taskmasters and rulers might put upon them. Their male children had been hunted and slain. Their own lives were a burden, and they were believing in, and worshiping, the God of heaven. SR 114.2

Then they contrasted their condition with that of the Egyptians. They did not believe at all in a living God who had power to save or to destroy. Some of them worshiped idols, images of wood and stone, while others chose to worship the sun, moon, and stars; yet they were prospered and wealthy. And some of the Hebrews thought that if God was above all gods He would not thus leave them as slaves to an idolatrous nation. SR 114.3

The faithful servants of God understood that it was because of their unfaithfulness to God as a people, and their disposition to intermarry with other nations, and thus being led into idolatry, that the Lord suffered them to go into Egypt. And they firmly declared to their brethren that God would soon bring them up from Egypt and break their oppressive yoke. SR 114.4

The time had come when God would answer the prayers of His oppressed people, and would bring them from Egypt with such mighty displays of His power that the Egyptians would be compelled to acknowledge that the God of the Hebrews, whom they had despised, was above all gods. He would now punish them for their idolatry and for their proud boasting of the mercies bestowed upon them by their senseless gods. God would glorify His own name, that other nations might hear of His power and tremble at His mighty acts, and that His people, by witnessing His miraculous works, should fully turn from their idolatry to render to Him pure worship. SR 115.1

In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, God plainly showed His distinguished mercy to His people before all the Egyptians. God saw fit to execute His judgments upon Pharaoh, that he might know by sad experience, since he would not otherwise be convinced, that His power was superior to all others. That His name might be declared throughout all the earth, He would give exemplary and demonstrative proof to all nations of His divine power and justice. It was the design of God that these exhibitions of power should strengthen the faith of His people, and that their posterity should steadfastly worship Him alone who had wrought such merciful wonders in their behalf. SR 115.2

Moses declared to Pharaoh, after he required the people to make brick without straw, that God, whom he pretended not to know, would compel him to yield to His claims and acknowledge His authority as supreme Ruler. SR 115.3