Out of Egypt: When God Calls You to Leave Slavery [Safety] Behind

Photo by cortixxx

So far in the first chapter of Matthew, Matthew has identified Jesus with Abraham, with David, with the whole levitical system of sacrifices and festivals (see “The Riddle of 13”), and with the people of Israel in exile — and of course, he has identified him clearly as the Messiah and with Yawheh himself.

Here, where he tells the story of Jesus’s childhood sojourn in Egypt, he identifies Jesus with the nation of Israel when he says that Jesus’s return to Palestine fulfilled the Scripture that says “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

(Matthew 2:15, referencing Hosea 11:1)

It’s a fascinating citation on multiple levels, but one is that there is no direct prophecy stating this or indicating, upon first read, that anyone reading it would have understood it to mean God would call his literal son out of Egypt.

In the OT this phrase is clearly a reference to the people of Israel being brought out of Egypt under Moses.

But rather than being problematic (“See? The gospel writers are playing fast and loose with the Old Testament”), it highlights how fully Jesus comes as the fulfillment not only of specific prophecies but of all the types and shadows of the Old Testament world.

And then for us too, because Jesus is not only fulfillment but also forebear.

He comes as the fullness of every Old Testament type — as the body casting the shadow that so many saw for centuries — but then we also walk in the patterns of his life, finding our own place in the story the whole world keeps telling, over and over again.

Out of Egypt, God called his Son. And out of Egypt, he calls us too.

Egypt represents so many things in Old Testament typology.

First, of course, it represents slavery. We are delivered from sin and the devil’s oppression in the same way the Israelites were delivered from slavery to human oppressors.

It also represents a lesser revelation of God.

During their time in Egypt, the Israelites had the promises given to the forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and they had a handful of stories about God’s dealings with them.

But they didn’t have anything close to the revelation that came with the first exodus: the fire on the mountain, the blazing holiness of God, the life-changing teachings and instruction of the law, the signs and wonders and shattering miracles.

In the exodus God revealed himself as the Almighty God, as God ALONE, so much greater than the gods of Egypt as to be of an entirely different class. He revealed himself as holy and jealous and as the Only Lord of Life and Death.

In the same way, when we’re called out of sin and slavery, we’re also called into a fuller revelation of God. This is the revelation that came with Jesus — a revelation of God as Redeemer and Seeker of the Lost, as the sacrificial Lamb, as the Lord who loves to the death and back again.

This revelation too is one of an intensely personal God in the Holy Spirit, a Lord of the universe who literally moves into our inmost being and fellowships with us there.

I don’t believe any of us “get” this revelation when we’re saved and then there’s nothing more to it; coming to know God is an eternal pursuit. “This is eternal life,” Jesus said, “that you know God and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent.”

There’s a challenge here I don’t want us to miss:

In the case of the infant Jesus, Egypt was a place of refuge — just as it was for the Israelites originally. When Herod sought the baby’s life, Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt, and so he did.

But the time came when Jesus had to leave — when God called him to return to the Promised Land and fulfill his destiny.

In our own lives, we often take up refuge for a time in places where God sets us. But the time comes when we have to leave that shelter and step out into the riskier, more dangerous world where our destiny awaits.

If we don’t — if we try to cling to our refuge — we will end up in slavery again.

Maybe that looks like a young person leaving home for the first time. Maybe it’s leaving your country to answer a call to missions overseas. Maybe it’s just getting outside of your comfort zone to learn new things and pursue new dreams. Maybe it’s changing your job. Maybe it’s just changing your mind-set! Maybe it’s relinquishing your privacy and relaxing your “boundaries” in order to more deeply pray for, reach out to, impact, and love other people.

Egypt serves its purpose for a time. But when God calls us out, we have to answer.

To reference an earlier post, we have to step out that door.

What awaits us is greater freedom and greater revelation. It’s a knowledge of God and relationship with him that will supersede anything we have known before.



, ,




One response to “Out of Egypt: When God Calls You to Leave Slavery [Safety] Behind”

  1. Cherie Avatar

    Thanks for the insights and encouragement! Something I needed today 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *