459th Meditation

“You then created for Yourself the people Israel, who bear Your name within them, and whom You called Your first-born. In Egypt You made them grow, making them into a great people, until they cried out to You in their oppression by Pharaoh” (Praise of the Blessed Trinity).

From that just man whom God found in the midst of the confusion of the nations, a whole people arose. This was to be prepared so that, through the kind providence of our Father, the Just One, the Redeemer of humanity and Head of the Church, which is one, might be born of him: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church” (Col 1:17-18a).

But the people of Israel – as well as the other nations – still had a long way to go. The Heavenly Father had to separate Israel from the other nations so that it would not be infected by the idolatry they practiced. This involved a tremendous effort that continues to this day. As with the people of Israel, human beings are easily deceived by demons instead of giving God the glory He deserves.

In Egypt, where the sons of Jacob first lived under the protection of Pharaoh, who had made his brother Joseph the second in authority in his kingdom (Gen 41:41), Israel became a numerous people. But the next Pharaoh withdrew his favor, and they had to serve him as slaves (Ex 1:8,14).

Then the children of Israel cried out to the Lord to deliver them from slavery (Ex 2:23). And “God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant” (Ex 2:24). He came to the aid of His people, desiring to deliver them from all slavery, both external and internal, so that they might be a free people who would listen to and obey Him.

Then He raised up the just one by whom He would deliver His people from the oppression of Pharaoh. He would go before the children of Israel to lead them into the Promised Land (Ex 3:10).