Exodus 1:8 – Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
Oftentimes, the Bible is notable for its subtlety, for its ability to understate. In Exodus 1:8, it says that the new pharaoh didn’t know Joseph. What this means is that the entire nation forgot what YHWH did for their nation! Joseph was a type of Jesus Christ. He was, as the pharaoh of Joseph’s time testified of, one in whom the Holy Spirit lived. And the very name Joseph means “YHWH has added”, which means that YHWH had providentially given Joseph to that people and nation.
YHWH used Joseph to benefit Egypt in many ways. He wisely ruled the nation for decades, and though the Bible does not record Joseph causing the Egyptians to worship YHWH during the time of his stewardship, nonetheless during this time was a source of wisdom and order who greatly restrained wickedness and evil, which is what Romans 13:1-3 says is the role of civil government and those who serve therein.
Further, Joseph with both his power of prophecy and his gift of administration saved Egypt during the famine. The crops failed, the currency failed, yet Joseph saved them alive. And Joseph in particular worked to benefit the pharaoh and his line during this time, because he caused the transfer of all the money and land in Egypt to the pharaoh’s possession, and furthermore allowed the Egyptians to sell themselves as slaves to the pharaoh – giving him absolute power – in exchange for their lives. Also, Joseph redistributed the population of Egypt – making them easier to govern – and established a law where 20% of the wealth generated in Egypt had to go to pharaoh. This resulted in the Egyptian kings’ having an incomprehensible amount of wealth and economic and political power. Also, Egypt’s surviving a widespread famine that devastated the surrounding nations made them the unparalleled power in the region. These things and more did Joseph do for Egypt and its pharaohs, and they forgot them. And in forgetting Joseph, they forgot about the YHWH that sent Joseph, was with Joseph, used Joseph, and blessed all of Joseph’s actions on behalf of Egypt and the pharaoh.
In a very real sense, rejecting the man of God is akin to rejecting God. This was illustrated when the people rejected Moses in the wilderness, when the people rejected Samuel and asked for a human king, when the people rejected Jeremiah during the time of their subjugation to Babylon, and when the people rejected the ultimate Man of God, Jesus Christ. Egypt forgot about the man of YHWH, and in the course of doing so they forgot about the YHWH in whose Name this man came and labored.
So what happened when Egypt forgot about God? They sinned. They sinned by persecuting the people of God even unto a genocidal slaughter of all the males. As a result of this crime, Egypt was severely judged. It was bankrupted of currency, its mighty army was destroyed, its crops and livestock slain, its firstborn killed, and this proud nation was made into a public laughingstock before the very same world where it was the chief superpower by the God of its own former slaves. Egypt went from being the head (if only in a temporal or secular sense, for Israel by virtue of its election was the true head) to being the tail. All because they forgot about God and as a result were ungrateful for His works. This is highly reminiscent of the pitiful estate of the town of Mansoul when it forgot about and ceased to be thankful to Prince Emmanuel in the very underappreciated John Bunyan allegory “Holy War.”
That forgetting God and being ungrateful to Him is a cause of grotesque sin is confirmed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:21. The Holy Spirit speaking through this Paul says “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” The result of this forgetting of YHWH? “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
Now when we forget YHWH, we have to thank SOMETHING … we have to put our faith and trust in SOMETHING. In the Holy War allegory, Mansoul put its trust in carnal security, their own physical accomplishments and defenses that could be seen with their eyes. Jesus Christ said of the rich young ruler that the wealthy put their trust in riches. In contemporary times, it is common to put your trust in some political ideology (i.e. democracy, liberalism or conservatism) or economic theory (capitalism or socialism) or on a more personal level one’s education/skills and earning capacity derived thereof. This means that when we forget YHWH and replace Him, we become IDOLATERS. And of course, wherever idolatry appears, pervasive sin of the most depraved and grotesque order follows after, and Romans 1 takes 7 whole verses (26-32) in giving a mere executive summary of it!
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
So, when Egypt forgot and thereby rejected YHWH through their rejection of His representative Joseph, it was a symbol of both how mankind forgot God when it knew God through Adam and thereby fell into original sin, and how mankind forgot and rejected YHWH through their rejection of the God-Man Jesus Christ. The very same people who witnessed His great miracles, who marveled at His teachings, who heard the sermon on the mount, who saw Him expose and confound the scribes and Pharisees, who ate their fill when Christ feed the 5,000 and the 4,000, and who cheered “Hosanna!” when He entered Jerusalem yelled “Crucify Him!” when Pilate sought to release Him, and mocked Him while He lay dying on the cross. His own disciples left Him in Gethsemane, and Peter denied Him thrice!
How quickly we forget, and how great is the extent of our forgetfulness! Just as Israel forgot about their deliverance from Egypt as soon as they got a little hungry and thirsty and began to grumble, we so often forget about YHWH and succumb to the temptation to rely on the arm of flesh, our own human talents and ideas, when adversity happens!When the going gets tough, how rarely do we get on our knees, remember YHWH and thank Him for trying us by fire? How quickly do we forget that the Bible says that we are to count it all for joy? That God allows such things to happen to us in order to rebuke, reprove, chasten and refine us because we are His sons and not His servants? Not only do we fail to remember God and God’s servant (the Bible and its teachings) during these times, but we accuse God of forgetting and being unfaithful to us just as did Elijah when he prayed to God to raise the boy from the dead! That God continues to endure us despite our forgetting Him over and over again is a testimony to precisely how patient, loving and merciful our God is!
Moses was on Mount Sinai less than 40 days when Israel said “We don’t know what happened to this guy, so let us build a golden calf and worship IT as the god who led us out of Egypt!” Now please note: they didn’t forget coming out of Egypt. No, they forgot Who led them out of Egypt! So, since they needed to give the glory to someone, they chose a dead, dumb idol that was the work of their own hands! And Aaron, the priest of YHWH went along with this idolatry just as so many pastors and preachers do the same when confronted with adversity and temptation!
How many pastors and preachers lead their congregations into their vain ideas and wild schemes instead of teaching them with their own example to trust God? How many pastors and preachers when confronted with hardships are known to say “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away (for all things are God’s to give and take away in the first place) and blessed be the Name of the Lord!” How many pastors and preachers succumb to the notions of personal failings and the need to get up to do something to rectify it by adopting some program or strategy, instead of just accepting the moving of God’s sovereignty? How many pastors and preachers are conforming to some internal or external expectation rather than being conformed to God through His Word no matter the result?
Again … remember Jeremiah: he didn’t win any converts. No, it was the false prophets who spoke lies in their own name, who passed on revelations from devils bent on causing the people to stumble and be destroyed, who gained the huge followings. Yet the contemporary message today is how we need to be more like the false prophets to get the crowds coming and churches growing again, more like Zedekiah who assaulted and mocked Micaiah – and by extension YHWH by saying “Which way went the Spirit of YHWH from me to speak unto thee?” Instead of being like the prophet of God, we choose to be like the blasphemers of God. The reason for this is that we have forgotten YHWH, and as a result we are judging by external (carnal) standards rather than by righteous judgment (John 7:24).
So how fortunate are the elect that in the time of judgment, those saved by Jesus Christ will have Him, the righteous Judge, to speak on the elect’s behalf? Jesus Christ will not speak for the elect on the basis of the elect’s righteousness, because it has been proven time and time again that the elect is unrighteousness if for no other reason that we frequently forget YHWH and fall into idolatry and sin. Instead, Jesus Christ will speak for His bride on the basis of His own righteousness that He imputes to His bride by way of the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross!
So, even though we forget YHWH, Jesus Christ has not forgotten about us, as He was slain for us! In a similar manner, the Holy Spirit has not forgotten about us, as He regenerates us and keeps us in the faith, and God the Father has not forgotten about us, as He chose us from before the foundation of the world. Because of this, though we sin, our sins are forgiven. God is just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness! Because of this we must rejoice in YHWH with worship and praise, but we also must do so with reverence, fear, trembling and the utmost humility! In all things, we must remember that if YHWH forgot about us the way that we so often forget about Him, we would be doomed to an eternity in the lake of fire! How amazing, how wonderful, how awesome it is to have such a great and loving God who forgives us; One who never forgets us as we forget Him! How great a God, and how great a salvation … who can despise or trivialize it and stand before this God?
Yet, we are saved by grace. We are justified by faith. We are sanctified not by the works of our own, sinful idolatrous hands, but instead by the workings of the sinless Holy Spirit upon us. These facts are true as clearly set forth by the Bible. Yet it is equally true – a fact of the same Bible – that we are not to use that truth as an excuse to wallow in error! Jude 1:4 calls this denying – or forgetting – YHWH. So though we are not saved or sanctified by our works, by our striving, work and strive we must do. It is what God commands us, and the man who loves God is the man who keeps YHWH’s commandments (John 14:15). The man who calls upon YHWH but fails to keep His commandments is a goat, and Jesus Christ says that the goats will be forgotten, left outside the camp and cast into outer darkness, on judgment day (Matthew 25:31-46). So though we are saved by Christ’s obedience and not ours, woe is the man who forgets YHWH and rejects obedience!
In closing, I urge you: do not forget what YHWH has done for you. Do not dare forget that YHWH sent His only begotten Son to die on a cross for sins that were not His Son’s, because being equal with God and being God by nature of His Sonship and pre-existence, the Son was and is sinless just as is the Father and the Spirit. Do not forget that YHWH verified His Son’s identity – including His sinlessness – and validated His work and mission by raising Him from the dead and accepting Him back into heaven where He sits on God the Father’s right hand, interceding for His bride, His church. Do not forget that YHWH did these things so that men might have their sins forgiven and inherit eternal life in His service. Do not forget that as a result of this, eternal torment in the lake of fire is not the future of those who believe. Instead, have faith, remember these things, repent of your sins so that they will be forgotten, and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Go, and do it quickly by: