But the more the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites, the more they increased in number and the further they spread through the land. The Egyptians came to fear the Israelites and made their lives miserable by forcing them into cruel slavery. They made them work on their building projects and on their land, and they had no pity on them. (verses 12-14)
Read Exodus 1:6-22
It is sad when people forget their history. More than sad, for sometimes a lack of knowledge of history can mean that mistakes of the past are repeated and that important parts of a heritage are no longer remembered. It can also mean that traditions become revered, whether they deserve to be or not.
In the case of the Israelites, people who had been rewarded for the things their ancestors had done to save Egypt from ruin had been forgotten, and so gratitude had been replaced by fear and hatred.
In Australia Christianity has a ways played an important part in our history, not always one we be would be proud of, but it has always been there. But as we have become more ‘sophisticated’ and more multicultural, Christianity has come to be treated with suspicion, ridiculed because it trusts mysteries, howled down because it claims to have the exclusive way to God. And people ask ‘What did Christians ever do to help Australia grow’.
We can grieve over this and long for the good old days when Australia was a ‘Christian country’ (which it really never was). Or we can begin telling Australians their history again, that God so loved the world…
Father, may I always remember that history is your story, the story of your amazing love and grace to your people. Amen.
by Robert Turnbull, in ‘Renewed Hope for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2000)
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