#TheStruggleIsReal











Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Hosea, and more specifically, is found in the eleventh and twelfth chapters. When this particular passage of Scripture opens, it opens with a prophetic word that is more than just a word concerning Israel, but a word that concerns the very eternal Son of God. If you begin reading this particular set of Scripture, you will notice the first verse contains what is known as a Messianic prophecy that in all reality has a dual application—an application concerning the house and nation of Israel, as well as an application that points to and foreshadows the coming Messiah. Consider if you will how this particular passage of Scripture opens—“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1). CALLING SONS OUT OF EGYPT! CALLING SONS OUT OF SLAVERY! CALLING SONS OUT OF BONDAGE! This verse found at the very outset of this passage of Scripture is absolutely stunning, for within this verse we find the love of the Lord for and toward his son, but also from that place of divine love, the Lord called his son out of Egypt. In order to truly and properly understand the weight and significance of this prophetic word, it is necessary to turn your attention to the first, second and third chapters of the Old Testament book of Exodus. IN the final three verses of the SECOND chapter of the book of Exodus we uncover and discover these words concerning Israel as they dwelt within the land of Egypt—“And it came to pass in the process of time that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of their bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25). One cannot fully understand and/or appreciate the weight and magnitude of what is recorded and found within these final three verses without first understanding the events which took place leading up to the cry. THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE CRY! THE EVENTS LEADING UP THE GROANING! UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THE GROANING! Beginning with the seventh verse of the first chapter we read these words concerning the events which took place—not only after the death of Joseph, but also after the death of the Pharaoh who was present during the days of Joseph and his brothers. “And the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, and multip0lied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. 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: 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. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they build for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter , and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour” (Exodus 1:7-14). When reading and studying the history and account of the oppression the children of Israel faced and experienced within the land of Egypt, it’s first necessary and imperative to recognize that the Egyptians first assault against and upon the people of God was to enslave them—to thrust them into extreme bondage and slavery, as they were forced to build up the cities of Pithom and Raamses. When reading the first chapter of the book of Exodus we first encounter Pharaoh seeking to subdue and exercise authority and dominion over the children of Israel through slavery, bondage and cruel oppression. In all reality, this is, and has always been how the enemy and adversary operates, for he will first seek to exercise dominion and authority over you by subjecting you to slavery, bondage and oppression. There arose a king after that Pharaoh who knew not Joseph, and it was that king who upon seeing how the children of Israel had increased greatly within the land who sought to suppress them by first enslaving them and subjecting them to cruel bondage and violent oppression.

 As you continue reading this first chapter of the book of Exodus, you will notice something beginning to happen—something happening despite their cruel oppression and their violent oppression. Beginning with the fifteenth verse of this same chapter we read and find these words—“And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other PUah: and he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then shall she live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty” (Exodus 1:15-20). The actions we see taken beginning with the fifteenth verse is directly connected to what we read in the twelfth verse, for within that verse we find that the more the Egyptians afflicted the children of Israel, the more they multiplied and grew. GROWTH DESPITE SLAVERY! GROWTH DESPITE BONDAGE! GROWTH DESPITE OPPRESSION! GROWTH IN THE MIDST OF LABOR! It’s actually quite astounding and remarkable that despite the bondage and oppression the children of Israel were subjected to, they continued to multiply and increase within the land. Pharaoh’s concern was primarily due to how the children of Israel had increased and multiplied within and upon the land, and in an attempt to stifle that growth, he sought to subject them to hard labor, bondage and affliction. Pharaoh’s plan, however, would ultimately backfire on him, as the very thing he sought to prevent seemed to be catapulted to another level because of and as a result of their slavery, bondage and oppression. Scripture records that the more they afflicted the children of Israel, and the more they oppressed them, the more they grew, and the greater they became. We would be incredibly wise to recognize and understand that oftentimes the greatest growth, oftentimes the greatest transformation that takes place within our lives comes not absent conflict and struggle, but in the midst of, and in spite of that conflict and struggle.

 The more the Egyptians oppressed and afflicted the children of Israel, the more they grew and multiplied, thus increasing within the land. I can’t help but find it ironic and just like God that the very thing the Egyptians and Pharaoh sought to prevent was escalated and expedited as a direct result of his actions. Pharaoh sought to put to death the increase and multiplication of the children of Israel within the land, and yet those very actions would in fact speed up the process. AFFLICTION SPEEDS THE PROCESS OF GROWTH! OPPRESSION SPEEDS UP THE PROCESS OF GROWTH! Have you ever noticed that you seem to grow the most during times of intense struggle and conflict? Have you ever noticed that growth and transformation within your life seems to expedite and accelerate the process of growth that is taking place within your life? This is not to say that growth and transformation cannot and do not take place in the absence of conflict and struggle, but that struggle and conflict have a way of expediting and accelerating the process. How many of us may very well desire growth and transformation within our lives, and yet we don’t recognize and/or realize that such realities find their greatest strength in struggle and affliction? THE STRENGTH IS IN THE STRUGGLE! THE STRENGTH IS IN THE CONFLICT! THE STRENGTH IS IN THE OPPRESSION! There is a popular saying that has found its way within and across social media, and even the cellular devices within our hands, and it is simply the saying, “The struggle is real!” There are countless men and women who use this phrase, or have used this phrase, and do so as a means of complaining about the struggle they find themselves in. They make this declaration as a way of broadcasting to those around them that they are indeed experiencing and walking through a struggle, and that struggle is both real and active within their lives. I can’t help but wonder what the children of Israel would have thought if such a phrase and expression was present during their time as slaves within the land of Egypt. THE STRUGGLE WITHIN EGYPT IS REAL! I can’t help but wonder how many of us attempt to avoid the struggle(s) we face because we absolutely hate and take offense to any conflict and/or affliction we face. There are countless men and women who fail to recognize and understand that the strength is found in the midst of the conflict—in other words, the strength of transformation and growth is found in the midst of the struggle and conflict.

 Pharaoh and the Egyptians learned full well a reality that continues to be manifested within the earth during this generation, and in generations that have passed. Pharaoh and the Egyptians learned that the more enemies and adversaries seek to oppress and afflict the people of God, the more those realities accelerate and expedite the process. There are countless men and women among us who do anything and everything they can to somehow avoid and avert conflict and struggle within their lives, and yet they don’t recognize or realize that it that struggle, affliction and conflict that catapults them into an entirely new level and dimension of growth and transformation. GROWTH ABSENT CONFLICT! GROWTH ABSENT STRUGGLE! GROWTH ABSENT AFFLICTION! There are those among us who may very well desire growth and transformation within their lives, yet they are unwilling to experience the conflict and struggle they may very well find themselves experiencing upon the earth. There are those among us who would try and separate growth from conflict and transformation from struggle, and yet they don’t realize that by doing so, they are actually preventing that which they desire from taking place. The more the Egyptians and the taskmasters oppressed and afflicted the children of Israel, the more they grew and multiplied. With that being said, it’s necessary that we understand that the enemy and adversary hates, abhors, and utterly despises growth and transformation. THE ADVERSARY DESPISES GROWTH! THE ADVERSARY DESPISES TRANSFORMATION! The second course of action Pharaoh and the Egyptians took against the children of Israel was simply a response to the ineffectiveness of that which they previously tried to accomplish. Pharaoh and the Egyptians made a mistake in judgment that continues to be made by the enemy and adversary within this generation—the belief that oppression, conflict and struggle seem to prevent and destroy growth and transformation. What I so love about this passage of Scripture is that the very thing they sought to avoid was the very thing their actions accelerated and expedited. I can’t help but wonder if the Lord deliberately and intentionally allowed the actions of the Egyptians to expedite and accelerate the growth of the children of Israel, for the greater the growth and the greater the multiplication, the greater the deliverance and miracle. Consider what may have happened if the Lord had delivered the children of Israel before the affliction and oppression started. Oh it was true that the people of God would have been delivered from the land and been brought into the land of promise, but the deliverance would not have been as great or as mighty as it was during the days of Moses and Aaron.

 One thing we must understand is that it is true the Lord could have brought the children of Israel into the land of promise, and it is true He could have multiplied them there in the midst of the land, but that wasn’t His desire, will, plan or intention. The Lord desired to bring the increase in the midst of the struggle rather than in the midst of the blessing. So many times we believe the increase should come in the place of the promise and blessing, yet we fail to recognize that the Lord desires to bring growth in the midst of the struggle and the conflict. The Lord didn’t simply want to bring forth out of and from the land of Egypt a household, but an entire people and nation that could be brought into the land. What’s more, is the Lord needed to increase the children of Israel within the land of Egypt, for when He brought them into the land of Canaan, He wanted to and desired to have a people that were great and mighty within the earth. In all reality, I would dare say that the growth and increase within the land of Egypt was absolutely necessary and vital for the plans and purposes of the Lord, for it only intensified and enhanced the deliverance He brought forth after the ten plagues devastated the land of Egypt. Isn’t it interesting that the more the affliction grew, the more the people themselves grew; the more the oppression grew, the more the people grew within the earth. GROWTH SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE STRUGGLE! GROWTH SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE AFFLICTION! We must recognize and understand that growth and transformation can not only coexist with affliction and struggle, but it can even increase simultaneously with the affliction and conflict. Pharaoh and the Egyptians saw that the children of Israel continued to grow and multiply within the earth despite their affliction, oppression, slavery and bondage, and their next course of action was to assault and attack future generations. Pharaoh’s actions were first directed toward that present generation, but when he witnessed his attempt becoming futile and unsuccessful, he sought to control future generations. Pharaoh attempted to convince the Hebrew midwives to kill the male infants when they broke the womb, thus seeking to destroy the seed that would bring forth and produce growth. It’s important to note that the enemy and adversary’s first attempt is to attack the present generation, and if that doesn’t work, he then directs his attention toward future generations.

I can’t help but be absolutely and utterly convinced that one of the reasons why abortion is so prevalent within this nation is because the enemy and adversary is seeking to attack the seed that will bring forth and produce a generation. One thing that I find so incredibly powerful in working where I work, is that I am able to sit and look directly out a window upon two busy streets. Throughout the course of any given day I see a number of women who are pregnant walking by. There is a huge part of me that can’t help but believe that the enemy and adversary absolutely hates and abhors the sight of a pregnant woman—especially a woman pregnant with a male child, for that male child carries within him a seed that can bring forth generations to come. There is and there has been a serious assault and attack against the seed that can produce and bring forth future generations, as the enemy and adversary has sought to use abortion to destroy future generations. Pharaoh instructed the midwives to kill and slaughter the male infants who broke the womb within the land of Egypt, thus attempting to prevent growth in the land. THE ENEMY SEEKS TO DESTROY GROWTH BY GOING AFTER THE SEED! I can’t help but be reminded of the parables which Jesus told concerning the seed that was planted, and how there was certain seed that was eaten by the birds of the air after it was sown, and there was other seed which the adversary planted a counterfeit seed side by side with it, in order that when both seeds grew, the seed of wheat would be choked by the weeds and thorns. Even Jesus recognize and understood the power and importance of seed, for He spoke of the seed of the word of God which the enemy and adversary sought to destroy before it could bring forth that which was to be manifested within the earth. The enemy and adversary has always been after the seed, for it is the seed that ultimately produces and brings forth the growth that can fill a land, or fill a nation, or ultimately, fill the earth. Pharaoh and the Egyptians sought to destroy the male infants when they burst forth and broke through the womb in order that both the child and the seed within the child might be destroyed. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for the enemy and adversary has not changed his tactics or strategies since the days of the children of Israel in Egypt.

As you continue reading this passage of Scripture, you will notice that when the affliction and oppression failed to accomplish the purposes of Pharaoh, and when the Hebrew midwives refused to slaughter the male infants when they broke the womb, Pharaoh launched his final, and perhaps his most sinister and diabolical attack upon the children of Israel. In the twenty-second and final verse of the first chapter we find Pharaoh’s final assault, and most sinister attack upon the children of Israel, as he issued his greatest command and instruction. First was the instruction and command of slavery, bondage and oppression. Second was the instruction and command of killing and slaughtering the male infants that broke the womb. The third and final instruction was the command to take every Hebrew son that was born to Hebrew woman was to be taken alive and cast into the river. When affliction and conflict didn’t work, Pharaoh proceeded to destroy the seed and future generations by calling for the killing of the male infants when they broke the womb. When the Hebrew midwives refused to obey his command, Pharaoh, then called for all male infants to be cast alive into the Nile River. I can’t help but wonder how many Hebrew male infants were cast into the Nile River according to the command and instruction of Pharaoh. What began as slavery, bondage, oppression and affliction would eventually culminate and reach the point of murder, as Pharaoh proceeded to call for the slaughter and destruction of all the Hebrew male infants that broke the womb. EVERY PREGNANT WOMB IS A REMINDER THAT SEED IS BEING PLANTED AND BROUGHT FORTH WITHIN THE EARTH! When the enemy and adversary can’t stop the growth and transformation through and as a result of affliction, struggle and conflict, he will then proceed to transition to target the seed of that growth itself. The enemy and adversary has always targeted and has always been after the seed that produces and brings forth growth and transformation—especially the seed of the word of God which produces the greatest transformation within our hearts and lives. There is not only a tremendous need to guard, protect and preserve the seed, but there is also a tremendous need to ensure that seed is able to grow and produce that which it has been released to accomplish. Pharaoh immediately targeted the seed of growth and transformation within the land of Egypt when he recognized realized that affliction, conflict and struggle wouldn’t work. WHEN STRUGGLE DOESN’T WORK, THE ADVERSARY TARGETS THE SEED!

When I read the words which Moses wrote at the end of the second chapter, it’s absolutely incredible to consider the general frame of mind that was present among the children of Israel. Moses records for us how the children of Israel sighed by reason of their bondage, and how God heard their groaning, God remembered His covenant, and He looked upon the children of Israel and had respect unto them. GOD HEARD! GOD REMEMBERED! GOD LOOKED UPON! GOD HAD RESPECT! Please pay close attention to these words, for the Lord of hosts would appear unto Moses and declare unto him something incredibly powerful concerning His people and children which were in the land of Egypt. “And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmaster; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:7-10). These words are absolutely incredible, for these words directly correspond and connect with the words which the Lord spoke through the prophet Hosea in the eleventh chapter of the book which bears his name. The Lord spoke of the nation and people of Israel as his son, and how as a son, He delivered and brought forth that son out of Egypt. The more I consider this reality, the more I can’t help but be confronted with the tremendous thought of the Lord redeeming sons from slavery. THE REDEMPTION OF SONS FROM SLAVERY! THE REDEMPTION OF SONS FROM BONDAGE! THE REDEMPTION OF SONS FROM OPPRESSION! What so amazes me about the words which Hosea prophesied is that they don’t correspond and refer to the nation and people of Israel alone, but they even connect to the very Son of God. If you read the synoptic gospels, you will discover how a serious threat emerged within the earth which threatened the life of Jesus Christ—a threat which forced Joseph to take Mary and the child down into the land of Egypt where they would remain until Herod died. Not only did the Lord of hosts redeem Israel as a son from the slavery and bondage of Egypt, but the Lord of hosts also brought forth His own Son from the land of Egypt.

It’s worth noting that the Lord allowed His own Son to be brought into the land of Egypt in order that He might fulfill that which the prophet Hosea prophesied centuries earlier. The Lord redeemed His son Israel from the land of Egypt and from their bondage, their oppression, the affliction and their slavery. The Lord brought forth His only begotten Son out of the land of Egypt in order that He might bring Him into an entirely different place—a place that would fulfill that which was prophesied concerning His life. It’s worth noting that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in order that He might fulfill that which was prophesied according to Micah in the Old Testament. Jesus was brought down into the land of Egypt, and was essentially brought forth from the land of Egypt in order that another prophetic word might be fulfilled, and in order that he might bring Him into that place which was ordained and appointed for Him. When Jesus was brought forth out of the land of Egypt, He was brought into Nazareth where He would remain until His public revealing and manifestation at the age of thirty. How incredible interesting and powerful it is that the Lord strategically moved His eternal Son within and upon the earth in order to fulfill that which was spoken of concerning His life. What’s more, is that the Lord moved His eternal Son upon the earth, and brought Him into those places which would help position Him for His eventual manifestation and revelation before and within that generation. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is that the Lord can, and the Lord does, and the Lord will work behind the scenes to strategically bring and place us into various places in order that that which He has ordained and appointed for us can and will come to pass. What’s more, is that the Lord can and will work behind the scenes in order that He might bring us into that place, or those places He has destined and purposed for our lives. The eternal Son of God was brought forth from and out of the land of Egypt in order that the prophetic word might be fulfilled, and in order that He might be positioned in that place which was appointed for Him. This reality is absolutely stunning, for the same reality is manifested within our lives as well, for the Lord strategically positions and moves us upon the earth in order that He might fulfill that which He has spoken concerning our lives. What’s more, is the Lord might strategically position and place us in various places in order that He might prepare us for that moment when the manifestation and revelation finally takes place. Oh that we would read these words and truly understand that which the Lord accomplished when He brought forth His Son out of Egypt—both His son Israel, as well as His eternal Son, Jesus the Christ.

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