Tuesday January 8: 2 Shevat
It was on this day in 1942 that the Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich met with representatives of the German Police, the S.S. and leading Nazi Party officials to begin discussing the implementation of the so-called, “Final Solution” to the so-called “Jewish Problem.”
What was the so-called “Jewish Problem”? It would seem the problem was, at least to the Nazis, that Jews existed at all. To many Nazis, the Jews were responsible for most of the world’s ills. They believed the Jews were responsible for the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and then the consequential threat posed to Germany from the Communist Party within the Reich. They also blamed the Jews for the defeat of Germany in World War I and the subsequent poverty and depression that plagued the Weimar Republic before the rise of Hitler. Consequently, the Nazi Regime considered the Jews to be a cancerous tumor that needed to be eradicated.
Maybe this is what many in ancient Egypt came to believe when they saw Joseph’s family, the Hebrews, prospering even as they were struggling. In the days of the seven-year famine, many Egyptians had to sell their livestock, lands, and even their liberty to Pharaoh in exchange for bread. In Genesis 47:25, 27, the Egyptians said to Joseph:
“‘You have saved our lives; let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.’ … So, Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly.”
At the same time the Egyptians were selling everything to survive, the Hebrews were thriving. The Hebrews’ prosperity coupled with the Egyptians poverty undoubtedly played a role in events that transpired later Specifically, in time a new Pharaoh would rise to power and convince the Egyptians that the Hebrews were to blame for their plight. Furthermore, he considered the Hebrews as an internal threat believing that, if Egypt were plunged into war, the Hebrews would turn against them. Comparing ancient Egypt with Nazi Germany, its easy to see that history has a way of repeating itself. In Ecclesiastes 3:15, Solomon said:
“That which is has already been and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past.”
It is important for us to acknowledge these historical cycles because, as we look around us, we observe a world on the verge of turmoil. It is not hard to imagine that, eventually, the world will start looking for a scapegoat to blame their problems on. Couple that with the fact the world is already at war with God, His Word and His people (Psalm 2:1-3) and it is not hard to imagine who that scapegoat is going to be. On the other hand, we also need to understand that Pharaoh, Hitler and countless other villains end up serving God’s purposes. When Stephen stood before the Sanhedrin, he declared that the Pharaoh of old came to power because God was getting ready to do something among His people. In Acts 7:17-18, Stephen said:
“But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt till another king arose who did not know Joseph.”
An evil king came to power because God was getting ready to do something with and for His people. As horrific as the conditions were for the Jews of Europe and many others like them during the reign of Hitler, their suffering led directly to the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the land of Israel.
Considering what’s going on in the world today, and if historical patterns hold true, we could conclude that the Creator is preparing His people for something very dramatic. According to Scripture, He will gather all of His people and being them into the land of the Covenant. So, out of something horrific, He does something terrific. There may be a lot of disturbing things going on in our lives today, but the Creator can take our suffering and use it for good. All things, good and bad, work together for good for those who love God, because it’s all about fulfilling His purpose.