Advent Week 2: God’s Presence and His Promises

Advent devotional readings from Christianity Today.

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Sunday: What God Sees

Today’s Reading: Exodus 1:1–3:10

Israel’s exodus from Egypt has fueled the imaginations of countless generations. At its heart, it is a story of hope . The Israelites couldn’t see that at first. They were a despised minority enslaved by an ambitious and greedy pharaoh who continually sought to extract more profit at less cost. In spite of his dependence on their labor, Pharaoh saw the Israelites—especially the men—as a potential threat. Not only did he work them to the bone, but he sought to kill their sons.

The writer of Exodus begins by focusing on the women in the story: midwives, a mother, her daughter, a servant, and the daughter of Pharaoh. Each one acts within her sphere of influence to resist Pharaoh’s cruel policies. Working together, they save the infant Moses. They act with hope, refusing to let the regime force them into submission. The writer describes their bold actions with the same words he will later use to describe God’s saving of the Israelite nation.

Consider these examples: Moses’ mother saw he was good, reminding us that God values every human made in his image. She placed him in an ark in the reeds. The ark (or “basket”) reminds us of God’s rescue of Noah’s family from watery death. Moses’ rescue anticipates Israel’s future escape through the Sea of Reeds (or “Red” Sea). Pharaoh’s daughter saw the ark, saw the baby crying, and took pity on him. Suddenly there is hope for this condemned child. Then we learn that God saw his people’s suffering, heard their cries, and was concerned. …

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