There is so much to take in from today’s reading, but the most significant truth underlying it all is the providence of God. We look back several hundred years, to the time of Abraham, and we find God telling Abraham in Genesis 15:13-14 "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. 14 "But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.” And now, as we read Exodus 1-3, we see God’s purpose being fulfilled, not just in the current dilemma of Israel, but perhaps even more so in the birth, life, and commission of Moses. Even the attitude and actions of a pagan Pharaoh are providentially included in God’s plan of redeeming Israel.
The same can be said of the arrest, trial, crucifixion, and burial of Jesus. Throughout the Old Testament prophets, God foretold His ultimate plan for redeeming sinful man. God the Father intentioned every aspect of the life and death of God the Son (Jesus), and we see this in the foretelling and fulfillment of the prophecies concerning Jesus.
What this screams to us is that the God of the Bible, the very one we call Father, intentions everything. He is the God of purpose, which means that everything happens for a reason, and although that reason may escape our capacity to comprehend at the moment, eventually understanding will come. I pray this truth will encourage the discouraged and enlighten the confused, because no matter what you are facing or what you are currently going through, or what you have gone through, God has purposed that season of your life for ultimate good and His Glory.
Exodus 1-3; Mark 15
1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob; each came with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5 The total number of Jacob’s descendants was seventy; Joseph was already in Egypt. 6 Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation eventually died. 7 But the Israelites were fruitful, increased rapidly, multiplied, and became extremely numerous so that the land was filled with them. 8 A new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. 9 He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and powerful than we are. 10 Come, let’s deal shrewdly with them; otherwise they will multiply further, and when war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country.” 11 So the Egyptians assigned taskmasters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. They built Pithom and Rameses as supply cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. 13 They worked the Israelites ruthlessly 14 and made their lives bitter with difficult labor in brick and mortar and in all kinds of fieldwork. They ruthlessly imposed all this work on them. 15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives—the first whose name was Shiphrah and the second whose name was Puah—16 “When you help the Hebrew women give birth, observe them as they deliver. If the child is a son, kill him, but if it’s a daughter, she may live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. 18 So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this and let the boys live?” 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get to them.” 20 So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied and became very numerous. 21 Since the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22 Pharaoh then commanded all his people: “You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile, but let every daughter live.”
1 Now a man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. 2 The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son; when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could no longer hide him, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with asphalt and pitch. She placed the child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. 4 Then his sister stood at a distance in order to see what would happen to him. 5 Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe at the Nile while her servant girls walked along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds, sent her slave girl, took it, 6 opened it, and saw him, the child—and there he was, a little boy, crying. She felt sorry for him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew boys.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a Hebrew woman who is nursing to nurse the boy for you?” 8 “Go,” Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.” 11 Years later, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his own people and observed their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his people. 12 Looking all around and seeing no one, he struck the Egyptian dead and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you attacking your neighbor?” 14 “Who made you a commander and judge over us?” the man replied. “Are you planning to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses became afraid and thought, “What I did is certainly known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard about this, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian, and sat down by a well. 16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Then some shepherds arrived and drove them away, but Moses came to their rescue and watered their flock. 18 When they returned to their father Reuel, he asked, “Why have you come back so quickly today?” 19 They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.” 20 “So where is he?” he asked his daughters. “Why then did you leave the man behind? Invite him to eat dinner.” 21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 She gave birth to a son whom he named Gershom, for he said, “I have been a resident alien in a foreign land.” 23 After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor; and they cried out; and their cry for help because of the difficult labor ascended to God. 24 And God heard their groaning; and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob; 25 and God saw the Israelites; and God knew.
1 Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. 3 So Moses thought, “I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up?” 4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!” “Here I am,” he answered. 5 “Do not come closer,” he said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. 7 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors. I know about their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the territory of the Canaanites, Hethites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 9 So because the Israelites’ cry for help has come to me, and I have also seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them, 10 therefore, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 He answered, “I will certainly be with you, and this will be the sign to you that I am the one who sent you: when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will all worship God at this mountain.” 13 Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what should I tell them?” 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation. 16 “Go and assemble the elders of Israel and say to them: The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said: I have paid close attention to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised you that I will bring you up from the misery of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, Hethites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey. 18 They will listen to what you say. Then you, along with the elders of Israel, must go to the king of Egypt and say to him: The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now please let us go on a three-day trip into the wilderness so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. 19 “However, I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go, even under force from a strong hand. 20 But when I stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my miracles that I will perform in it, after that, he will let you go. 21 And I will give these people such favor with the Egyptians that when you go, you will not go empty-handed. 22 Each woman will ask her neighbor and any woman staying in her house for silver and gold jewelry, and clothing, and you will put them on your sons and daughters. So you will plunder the Egyptians.”
Mark 15 (CSB)
1 As soon as it was morning, having held a meeting with the elders, scribes, and the whole Sanhedrin, the chief priests tied Jesus up, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 2 So Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 Pilate questioned him again, “Aren’t you going to answer? Look how many things they are accusing you of!” 5 But Jesus still did not answer, and so Pilate was amazed. 6 At the festival Pilate used to release for the people a prisoner whom they requested. 7 There was one named Barabbas, who was in prison with rebels who had committed murder during the rebellion. 8 The crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do for them as was his custom. 9 Pilate answered them, “Do you want me to release the King of the Jews for you?” 10 For he knew it was because of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd so that he would release Barabbas to them instead. 12 Pilate asked them again, “Then what do you want me to do with the one you call the King of the Jews?” 13 Again they shouted, “Crucify him!” 14 Pilate said to them, “Why? What has he done wrong?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them; and after having Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified. 16 The soldiers led him away into the palace (that is, the governor’s residence) and called the whole company together. 17 They dressed him in a purple robe, twisted together a crown of thorns, and put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They were hitting him on the head with a stick and spitting on him. Getting down on their knees, they were paying him homage. 20 After they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple robe and put his clothes on him. They led him out to crucify him. 21 They forced a man coming in from the country, who was passing by, to carry Jesus’s cross. He was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skull). 23 They tried to give him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 Then they crucified him and divided his clothes, casting lots for them to decide what each would get. 25 Now it was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge written against him was: The King of the Jews. 27 They crucified two criminals with him, one on his right and one on his left. 29 Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself by coming down from the cross!” 31 In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes were mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! 32 Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with him taunted him. 33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” 35 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “See, he’s calling for Elijah.” 36 Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, fixed it on a stick, offered him a drink, and said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.” 37 Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 When the centurion, who was standing opposite him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” 40 There were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women followed him and took care of him. Many other women had come up with him to Jerusalem. 42 When it was already evening, because it was the day of preparation (that is, the day before the Sabbath), 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came and boldly went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body. 44 Pilate was surprised that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had already died. 45 When he found out from the centurion, he gave the corpse to Joseph. 46 After he bought some linen cloth, Joseph took him down and wrapped him in the linen. Then he laid him in a tomb cut out of the rock and rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were watching where he was laid.