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The Pharaoh who took over after Joseph rose to power did not seek to dominate the children of Israel from a position of strength, but rather one of weakness. He felt threatened by the numbers and vigor with which the Lord had blessed the children of Israel, and he felt compelled to do something to counter them. So he put harsh slave drivers over them, and made it his policy to crack down on the children of Israel.

Often, we, too, have to contend with those who feel threatened by us. Often it’s when we are minding our own business, or even engaged in doing something good and praiseworthy. We try and help others, or be peacemakers and children of God, as He urges us, and instead of others listening and accepting what we say (never mind being grateful — gratitude is a lot to ask sometimes in a fallen world) we meet with resistance and even outright opposition: deceit, conniving, or backstabbing.

When we run into such treatment, we should not be dismayed, “as though something strange were happening to us”, as St. Peter reminds us (1 Pe 4:12). Rather, we should remember that opposition will naturally be the Christian’s lot when he or she joyfully confesses the gospel — and that such opposition does not come from a position of strength, but rather one of weakness and even desperation. If the enemies of the gospel thought themselves secure, why would they feel the need to resort to duplicity or lies? The Church is not the only one to know this lesson. As even a professed unbeliever like the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has noted, “Often we attack and make ourselves enemies, to conceal that we are vulnerable.”

Therefore “do not fear what they fear, do not be frightened” (I Pe 3:14); rather, hold Jesus Christ as Lord in your heart, and entrust all things to His loving care. He knows how best to defend and protect you, while still accomplishing His purposes. The enemies of His Word cannot thwart that. To Him alone be glory and honor, amen.

Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:

10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.

11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.

12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.

13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour. …

–Exodus 1:8-13