Scriptural Analysis- Exodus 1:8-10

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

9 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.

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

This verse is, of course, a most pivotal passage in the story of the Israelites. In just a few words the entire fate of the Israelites turned on its head. Without this verse, the story which the entire book of Exodus is dedicated to relating wouldn’t have occurred.

This verse describes the passage from one king of Egypt to another, notably one that never knew Joseph personally. We were told that Joseph lived to the age of one hundred and ten, and depending on the age of the Pharaoh who first made him a prince, it is entirely conceivable that this new pharaoh was three or four generations after that previous ruler. It is also possible that this new king was not the very next ruler born after the death of Joseph, for all we know decades might have passed between the sunset of Joseph and the rise of this new leader. In any case, to this new ruler Joseph was nothing more than a story, and clearly he had no respect to the man’s kin.

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.

The new Pharaoh was frightened of the Israelites. It seems he didn’t expect them to start a war directly, but if another enemy arose, he thought Israel might join in with them. Apparently he did not know that it was never in the cards for the Israelite people to have a hand in the destruction of Egypt. At various times God would command the descendants of Abraham to eradicate certain nations, but only those in the land of Canaan. That was the land of their inheritance, not Egypt. The Pharaoh of Egypt had nothing to fear.

But, of course, these facts would mean nothing to a Pharaoh who approached the Israelites the same as any other nation. This is not the last time that a foreign nation in the Bible will view God’s chosen people with the same skepticism and pessimism as they held for all the rest of the world. Sadly, many times the godly are punished by the distrust of the ungodly.

Scriptural Analysis- Exodus 1:1-7

1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.

2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,

3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,

4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.

5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.

6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.

7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.

Exodus takes a step backwards and recaps some of the information that we had at the end of Genesis. It reiterates all of the sons of Jacob who lived with him in Egypt, it reminds us that there were seventy descendants in their party, and it reminds us of the passing of Joseph.

Not only Joseph, though, it further extends the narrative to state that all of that generation were passed away. This truly marks the end of an era. The age of the patriarchs is officially closed and now begins the time of the Israelite nation.

Seventy descendants might make for a large family gathering, but hardly an entire civilization. Verse 7, however, shows that the Israelites “increased abundantly,” even to the point that “the land was filled with them.” Let us remember that this is the fulfillment of a promise that God had been making to the patriarchs ever since Abraham: that they would become a great nation. The fulfillment of other promises is still to come, but this is the one upon which all those others was predicated. At times the fulfillment of this promise appeared quite uncertain, as Abraham’s lineage remained a very small population in danger of extinction at every turn, but in this verse we see that God proved faithful through it all.

But while this represents one step forward, we are of course about to hear about another string of setbacks, enslavement and genocide, making the success of Abraham’s descendants uncertain once more. Yet again, faith will be required, the Israelite nation will be the perpetual underdogs, and they will have to depend on God’s salvation at every hand.

We Can’t Talk: Part Five

This series of posts started due to a difficult conversation I had with my coworker about transgenderism. I mentioned how awkward it feels when talking about “hot topic” issues such as this, and how I resent that awkwardness. I explained that I want to learn how to talk openly and respectfully about these important matters.

But having concluded all this, I would be a hypocrite if I then allowed the conversation with my coworker to remain in the awkward state we had left it in. Here, at the end of this series, I want to report that my coworker and I had a follow-up conversation just a couple days ago. Though, to be honest, we almost didn’t. I saw the opportunity for a private word, and I almost let it pass by. I still felt all the same anxiety about speaking openly, and it seemed it would be much easier to just let the moment pass by in silence. But because of the things I discussed in these posts, I knew that I had to take the chance and see what came of it even so.

And…it was great! I acknowledged the awkwardness of the prior conversation, my coworker echoed those sentiments, and then we spent our time agreeing that we didn’t like things feeling that way and wishing that this sort of communication came more naturally. I made it perfectly clear where I stood on certain stances, but also reaffirmed my friendship in spite of our differences. My coworker did not act surprised or offended in the least, but neither did she try to make any false concessions to my views. We both showed respect for the other’s different views.

So yes, this conversation was difficult to get started, but it stopped being painful about two sentences in. I really feel like a great weight has been lifted off. I feel that we won’t have to avoid the elephant in the room any longer. I feel closer to my coworker now that we are both able to be genuine and honest. And I don’t have to worry what my coworker would think if she found out about my opinions. If she raises a social or political point in the future, she’ll already know that I probably respectfully disagree.

Of course, I can’t guarantee that every conversation with someone of different viewpoints will go as smoothly as this one did. My own conversation could have put a real wound in our relationship, but I remain convinced that making an honest enemy would still be better than remaining a deceitful ally. I know that I won’t hate someone else because they have a difference of opinion. On the other hand, if there’s someone in my life who would choose to hate me for my opinions, then that’s something worth knowing sooner rather than later.

I’ll leave this subject for now, but rest assured I will endeavor to continue living forthrightly, respectfully and earnestly. I will continue to express the perspectives that I think matter most, and I will strive to be at peace with whatever attitude is given in return.

We Can’t Talk: Part Four

I’ve spent the last three days saying that we need to be able to talk about the difficult issues of our day without being afraid of one another. Yes, we should be respectful and considerate, but that doesn’t mean we have to neuter our communication. If we feel strongly about something, we should be able to express our convictions with emphasis, but without becoming hostile. We also need to encourage others to know that we can listen to their differing opinions without demonizing them. We should be able to let them know that even if we strongly disagree, we can still view them as a brother or a sister and a friend.

And in that spirit, I think it is only fair that I should lay my own cards on the table. I’ve always avoided being explicit in my political and social leanings, partly because I didn’t want to offend anyone, and partly because I didn’t want to invite unpleasant reactions. But now I feel that those fears are the exact things that are preventing us from having these important conversations in our society. Furthermore, I would imagine several of you have already made assumptions about my positions and perspectives, and if your assumptions are off the mark I wouldn’t want to feel that I am deceiving you.

If my convictions are different from what you expected, if they contradict the image you had built up of me through my prior posts, if they challenge your own perspectives, then hopefully this will help to illustrate my point that even those of differing opinions can still be of value. I expect plenty of my readers will have different feelings on several of the subjects I am about to list out, and I want to make clear that I don’t begrudge any of you who feel differently being here and remaining a part of this community. All are welcome to come here, even if they disagree, so long as they speak with respect.

My Convictions)

I am a traditional conservative.

In matters related to family and society, I believe that marriage is to be between a man and a woman, and that for the good of our children and society, sexual relations should be reserved for that marriage. I believe that both parents should be equally committed to whatever children they conceive. I believe that this return to basic family values would in-and-of-itself eradicate the vast majority of every social ill we see. I believe that the transgender movement is in opposition to basic truth and should be dismissed as such. I believe that pornography is merely another form of prostitution, that it is incredibly harmful to both the individuals who create it and those who consume it, and it should be prohibited. I believe that men and women each face their own unique challenges, and each deserves equal attention. I believe that the life that begins at conception is sacred and should absolutely be protected.

In matters of race and immigration, I am opposed to any notion of white superiority, but I am equally opposed to any notion of white inferiority. I believe that all races should be treated equally and fairly, that none are fundamentally more worthy or more problematic than the other, and none of them should receive special treatment nor restriction. I am proud that my country, the United States of America, has long had the defining virtue of being a haven for the refugee, the migrant, and the poor. Protocol and process are necessary here to prevent abuse of generosity, but I am anxious that we do not lose sight of this noble quality that has so long defined us.

In matters of crime, I believe that criminals should face justice for their wrongs, even up to capital punishment in the most extreme cases. For those who are incarcerated, every effort should be made to reform and educate those individuals, for their own betterment as well as that of society. I believe that we should resist the normalization of both recreational and illegal drugs.

I also believe that we need to take care of our planet, our environment, and the miraculous species God has given to us, but that we should do so in manners and degrees that do not force the poorest to remain in deprivation. I also believe that there are forces trying to undo our religious liberty, to silence specific statements of faith, and that this effort undermines the foundation of our society and must be resisted.


There. I think that covers all the main “hot topics,” and there’s enough opinions there that just about everyone should be able to find something they disagree with! You’ve already had time with this blog to get to know my heart, so does where I stand on these issues align with what you thought of me? If not, are we still going to be able to be friends and explore spirituality and truth together? For the sake of my faith in humanity, I certainly hope so!

We Can’t Talk: Part Three

I’ve talked about the awkward, self-filtering way I tend to approach “hot topic” issues in my day-to-day interactions and how I believe this stems from the vicious manner these issues are debated online. No one wants to be their most forthcoming when they are afraid of explosive anger, personal attacks, or even death threats! However, I have also acknowledged that this probably isn’t an accurate expectation to have of those I associate with on a daily basis. Just as I know that I can still value their friendship even if they have different perspectives then me, I should be able to trust that they can feel the same towards me.

Signals of Prejudice)

However, even if we manage to separate our expectations of the real world from the virtual, we still need to learn how to speak in a way that fosters positive communication. There are certain terms which I have noticed are likely to set people with the opposite opinions immediately on edge. They are things that signify to the other person that you are prejudiced against them, and that is sure to make their interaction with you that much less sincere and constructive.

So, for example, if you are more liberal, and you start throwing out “phobic” terms, such as “transphobe” or “homophobe,” then you are immediately downgrading the conversation. These terms are almost always applied incorrectly. “Phobic” is a suffix that means a person has an irrational, panic-stricken fear of something. There might very well be people who have a panicked reaction when in the presence of a homosexual or transgender person, but I think we all know that this is virtually never the case when this term is applied. It is a stamp put on anyone who is disagrees with liberal movements for any reason at all.

On the other side, some of the more conservative voices have started overusing the term “groomer.” This, of course, is a term that accuses another person of intentionally sexualizing minors so that they may become victims of abuse. This is an extremely serious claim, and it ought to be wielded with an equally serious mindset. Sadly, as with the “phobic” terms being applied to those on the right, “groomer” is starting to be thrown against everyone who happens to have a liberal attitude.

If you use either of these terms thoughtlessly, you are signaling to the other side that you have a reductive view of other people. You are telling them that you will lump anyone that feels differently with you into the most extreme and sinister categories so that you may dismiss them without any real consideration. And maybe that’s not what you meant to communicate at all. Maybe you were just imitating the vernacular that you’ve been taught without realizing how it is likely to be received. If this the case, then you ought to take some time to consider whether you are subconsciously discounting the other person without even hearing what it is they are trying to say. Frankly, we all do this to some extent, so there isn’t any shame in realizing that we have made this mistake and then correcting ourselves.

Though, on the other hand, perhaps you really do mean to categorize the entire side as pure evil. Perhaps you think that anyone who is on the other side of the aisle is not merely confused or misguided. Perhaps you don’t think they have any good points to share, or that they are trying to gain attention for an issue you might have overlooked. Perhaps you genuinely believe that they are all monsters that only seek to harm our society, and that they are past reclamation, and thus you have no intention of having a civil discourse with them. But if you’ve taken the time to read this series of posts to this point, I imagine that that is not the case for you. If you care at all about the trouble we have in communication, like I do, then that would suggest that you hope it could get better. And if you hope it could get better, then that would mean that there are good people on both sides who can approach these heavy conversations with decency and composure if we just start to foster that sort of attitude.

I certainly think that this is the case. And if it isn’t, then the world is much worse off than I realized and horrible things are inevitable!

We Can’t Talk: Part Two

Yesterday I started talking about the tension I notice whenever “hot topic” issues like transgenderism, abortion, or racial differences come up. I have seen in these instances how I go through mental gymnastics, trying to sanitize everything I say, terrified that I will utter something that other side will demonize me for. I live in fear of coworkers, friends, and even family members, often deferring my opinions because it seems there is so much to lose by expressing my convictions. And while I know that not everyone is the same as me, I’m sure that if I’ve had these feelings, there are probably plenty of others who have as well.

And this is a real problem, because it is imperative that we be able to have these conversations as a society. In fact, even more important than talking about than the important issues of our day is having the ability to talk about them. Being able to have the conversation is obviously the prerequisite to then having it. So let’s talk about what it is that makes this discourse so difficult.

What Are You Scared Of?)

After giving it some thought, I realized that when I think about people debating these important issues, I typically don’t picture two friends talking on a bench in a park. That’s not where these arguments typically occur today, they occur online, where faceless avatars scream at their opposition, assume the absolute worst in each another, and wish literal death upon anybody who dares to have a different opinion. I believe that the online forums have trained us to hold great anxiety when discussing these issues in person, because our experience has been that these subjects bring up the most hostile and abusive vitriol. If you were talking to another person face-to-face and they exhibited the same animalistic rage that you see online, then you might genuinely start to fear for your life!

But it probably isn’t accurate to assume that the friends and family and coworkers that we speak with in person would show the same unbridled rage that we see online. At least I certainly hope not! In person, I believe the majority of people are civil and restrained, even when expressing their deeply-held beliefs. But if we can’t express those deeply-held beliefs in person because we are afraid, then we suppress ourselves, become frustrated, and perhaps take that out on some internet forum, ironically perpetuating the same image of anger that keeps everyone silent in real life. We are caught in a vicious cycle, and the only solution that I see is to start challenging the way that we assume the worst in real-life people.

And if I am wrong, and actually our society is so far gone that calmly and respectfully speaking my mind in public is going to get me injured by one of the people I thought I was close to, then frankly it’s about time we had a few martyrs to bring attention to how bad things have become!

Losing a Friend)

Of course, there is a wide range of possibilities between a conversation being a positive experience and it being mortally dangerous! There are all manner of other negative outcomes that might more realistically come to pass, possibilities that still frighten us into silence. The most obvious of these is the loss of a friendship we valued. It is possible that challenging another’s deeply-held beliefs, even when done with kindness and respect, might cause them to determine that they can no longer associate with you.

That is a genuine fear, and one not to be treated lightly. The people that I am close to are very important to me, as well they should be, and I will truly mourn if I lose any of them because they could not abide my convictions. But it is selfish for me to prioritize my own comfort and happiness over doing my part to help the world sort out truth from error.

Also, even if it ends up being misplaced, I believe that I should have more faith in my friends. I know that I have different beliefs than they do, but I still enjoy their company, value their insights, and want to be their friend. I don’t know if they can reciprocate that, but I should give them the chance to do so. And frankly, I’m not being a very good friend if I am maintaining our relationship on false pretenses. There will always be an element of deceit if I know I am concealing part of myself from them, and that will prevent the friendship from ever reaching its full potential.

We Can’t Talk: Part One

I expressed my intention to resume my verse-by-verse scripture study, but something came up, and I need to go over it this week. The verse-by-verse study will begin next Monday.

What came up was a stressful and anxious conversation at work. It was pronounced enough to make me stop and consider what was going on, and what it all meant. The conversation started innocuous enough, my coworkers and I were discussing the new Hogwarts Legacy game that recently released. Everything was fun and light-hearted until one of my coworkers expressed disappointment that this otherwise appealing game was tied to a “transphobe” like J. K. Rowling. Another coworker challenged that statement, defending Rowling, and the two had an extremely awkward and tense exchange.

Their discussion was by no means insulting or disparaging. In fact, both of the coworkers spoke very deliberately and haltingly, couching their statements in all manner of caveats and disclaimers. I imagine that the two of them were trying to filter anything out of their speech that might escalate the disagreement. I assume so, because I was also doing that very thing. I wanted to express my own strongly-held opinions, but I was also terrified of ruining our work-friend relationships. Combing through every possible statement was mentally exhausting, and I only ended up making one small contribution to the discussion. As you might imagine, such a self-conscious and labored conversation quickly fizzled out. In less than a minute one of the other coworkers threw out a change of topic and we all clung to it like a life preserver. The tense exchange was over.

Or at least, it was over on the surface. My mind was still firmly on the experience we had just had. Why had it gone down that way? Why had it been so hard to speak? Is it really impossible to express our passionate and contrasting opinions in a way that doesn’t ruin relationships?

I know they say that politics and religion are the two things you must never talk about if you want a friendship to last, but something inside of me balks at that notion. Are we really expected to muzzle ourselves around the most important discussions of our day? Would it really be better that we reserve these conversations for flame-wars with complete strangers on the internet that accomplish nothing? No! We need to be able to have these hard discussions face-to-face with the people we have the most influence with.

Because, make no mistake, we do need influence and persuade. “Hot topic” items like transgenderism, racial differences, and abortion are the exact things that our society needs to work out today. Every society throughout all time has had their own controversial issues that they were responsible to give an answer to. Some of them handled it well and history looks at them fondly. Some of them handled it poorly and history looks at them disdainfully. Some of them completely abdicated their responsibility, turning the decision over to a select few who used that power to execute horrifying agendas. This led to the massacre of millions and decades-long regressions until the common people were finally willing to take back their voice and demand something better.

So no, these can’t be conversations that are reserved exclusively for the internet forums, or the debate halls, or the chambers of government. We, the everyday people, need to be able to engage in the conversation face-to-face, or else our chances of making the right decisions drops precipitously. If there is any takeaway from the conversation I had with my coworkers, it is that many of us are not able to talk about these all-important issues, and this is a very disturbing fact. We should all be very concerned for what it portends.

Over the rest of this week, I want to discuss this situation in more depth, and hopefully provide inspiration for us all to do the hard work that is ours to do.

Thought for the Day- God’s Good Day

We do not have the power to make God’s good day bad. We can tarnish ourselves, but not all the beautiful creation that surrounds us.

And for this reason, whatever else is going on, whatever the depth of our personal unworthiness, we can still take a step back and bask in God’s goodness.

For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good
Matthew 5:45