Advent Series - December 6


Happy feast of St. Nicholas!

Jacob (now named Israel) had 12 sons.
These sons would become the fathers of the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Their names were;
1) Ruben 2) Simeon 3) Levi
4) Juda 5) Dan 6) Nephtali
7) Gad 8) Aser 9) Issachar
10) Zabulon 11) Joseph 12) Benjamin

Jacob’s favorite child was Joseph, the first born son of his wife Rachel.
Jacob gave Joseph a beautiful coat of many colors.
The other boys were jealous, and they sold Joseph as a slave to some Egyptian traders.
The boys told their father that a wild animal had killed Joseph. (Poor Jacob. He was deceived again!)

The slave traders sold Joseph to a rich Egyptian. That Egyptian’s wife told lies about Joseph and got him sent to prison because he refused to do wrong. Things looked pretty bad for Joseph, but he trusted in God.

In prison, Joseph met 2 men who had strange dreams. Joseph told them what their dreams meant; one of the men would be hanged and the other would be set free.
Things turned out just as Joseph said. After a time, Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt had a strange dream also. No one could tell him what his dream meant. Then the man who had been freed remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about Joseph and his special gift.

The Pharaoh sent for Joseph and Joseph told him what his dreams meant; the land of Egypt would have 7 years of good crops, followed by 7 years when no food would grow.
Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of storing food to prepare for the famine.
The day came when no crops would grow, but because of Joseph,the people of Egypt were well provided for.

Meanwhile, due to the famine, Joseph’s family had run out of food but they heard it was possible to buy food in Egypt.
The brothers set out for Egypt. When they got there they did not recognize Joseph.
Joseph remembered them, however. He forgave his brothers and invited the whole family to come and live in Egypt where there was plenty of food.

Let’s remember Joseph when we’re having a bad day. Everything fits into God’s plan, and God brings good out of evil. When things are not going as we hoped, that’s when we can show God that we love Him and trust Him.

So Jacob (Israel) and his sons went to live in Egypt. At first things went well, but then the Old Pharaoh died.
The new Pharaoh did not trust the children of Israel.
We read before how God told Abraham that He would give to His people the land of Chanaan, but only after they spent 400 years as slaves in a strange land.(Gen 15)
This marks the beginning of their 400 years of exile.

The children of Israel had many children. They grew to be so many, that after 400 years, the Egyptians were afraid they would take over Egypt. The Pharaoh who ruled then decided to do something about it. He ordered all Hebrew baby boys to be killed.

It was then that Moses was born. Moses, of course was a Hebrew baby boy, so his life was in danger!
Moses’ mother placed him in a basket on the Nile River to escape being killed.
His older sister followed to watch over him. When an Egyptian princess found Moses, she wanted to take care of him. Moses’ sister stepped out of the rushes and offered to find a nurse for the baby. Can you guess who she “found”?

Moses grew up in the palace of the Pharaoh, but he stayed loyal to his own people. One day, he saw an Egyptian being cruel to a Hebrew. Moses got so angry that he killed the Egyptian. After that, Moses knew he had to leave Egypt or be killed as well.
Moses went to live in the desert for many years. One day, he saw a bush that was on fire, yet it did not burn to ashes. God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, telling him to go to Pharaoh and ask that the Hebrews be allowed to go into the desert and make sacrifices to God.

The Israelites worked to build Pharaoh’s cities and Pharaoh was not thrilled with this idea. In fact, he thought that the Hebrews must have too much time on their hands to come up with such ideas. To punish them, Pharaoh ordered the Hebrews to make bricks without straw. Anyone not supplying the same number of bricks would be whipped. Now this was not fair at all, since you could not make bricks without straw!

The people of Israel were upset. They told Moses that Pharaoh had used his visit as a reason to persecute them.
And God said to Moses, “I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, wherewith the Egyptians have oppressed them: and I have remembered My covenant Therefore say to the children of Israel: I am the Lord who will bring you out from the work prison of the Egyptians, and will deliver you from bondage” (Ex 6:5-6)

We will read tomorrow about how God fulfilled His promise.


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