Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders … I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41)
“The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin … They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So, they quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’” (Exodus 17)
How did the Hebrew nation go from prospering greatly under the leadership of Joseph (a Godly Hebrew leader of Egypt) to grumbling in the desert with Moses? The answer actually comes from God’s covenant with Abraham … “I will make you into a great nation…” (Genesis 12). It was in Egypt, long after Abraham was gone, that his family began to grow (Exodus 1). This alarmed the new Pharaoh to the extent that he put the Hebrew people under oppression and forced labor.
It was God’s promise, not Pharaoh’s fear, that caused the problem. No really! Had God not fulfilled His promise to Abraham, at the time the Hebrews were in Egypt, this whole exodus thing would surely have never happened. It happened because God had greater plans for the Hebrews than simply prosperity in Egypt. His plans included converting their life of plenty into a life of obedience. I’m sure they would have been very happy with continued peace and prosperity in the fertile land of Egypt, like they experienced under Joseph, but God’s plans change things!
I don’t know about you, but it pains me to read what the Hebrews went through in the wilderness. I cringe every time they complain and Moses has to go to God for a solution. I get their misery, but I don’t get why it was so difficult to simply listen to God and obey. Oh, sorry … I guess I really do. When I get comfortable, I kinda like for things to stay that way. But God’s plans often change things. Only through faith and obedience will I be a blessed part of God’s everlasting plan … even if He needs to change things in my life!