For nearly 400-years the children of Israel had lived in Egypt. Initially, I can see that God allowed them to move there to survive the drought occurring throughout the region. God had placed Joseph there many years before for just such a reason.
Perhaps God allowed them to remain there after the drought had ended to incubate them from their enemies. Living within the boundaries of the most powerful kingdom at the time would certainly afford them protection.
But without a doubt, after 400-years circumstances changed. They were no longer seen as guests of the Pharaoh’s right hand-man, but as invaders, potential traitors.
So, they become slaves. Oppressed. Persecuted. Abused.
Their cries for deliverance were heard and God raised up Moses.
Through the 10 plagues God destroyed the Egyptian’s faith in their gods, and simultaneously demonstrated to Israel that they could trust Him.
In the last plague Egypt and Israel both were warned of the coming judgment. The first born in every home would die unless the blood of a sacrificed lamb were painted on the doorposts.
The death angel passed over those who obeyed, but entered and inflicted judgment on the disobedient.
And so Israel were sent out of the land. God going before them in a pillar of cloud.
When the Egyptians pursued to attack them, the children of Israel feared they would all be slaughtered.
Then, in Exodus 14:13-14 we have some of the most amazing words of comfort:
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.Exodus 14:13-14
The pillar of cloud moved from leading the Israelites, to become a pillar of fire behind them to protect them from harm.
Soon after, Israel passed through the Red Sea on dry land, and when the Egyptians tried to follow the waters returned and they were drowned.
Israel’s Good Shepherd had led them and protected them.
Several hundred years later, an unknown shepherd boy, ignored by his own family, was chosen by God to become king of the land!
God seems to have taught him much about leadership while caring for the flocks belonging to his father.
He learned of the role of a good shepherd, and one day had the revelation of God as his Good Shepherd, caring and leading him and the nation.
Psalm 23 has blessed and comforted believers for some 3000 years.
May we trust our Good Shepherd. May we follow Him as He leads, and may we trust Him to protect us. May we have the wisdom to know when to move, and when to simply stand still and see Him do great things on our behalf!