The rabbis say, “The children of Israel came to Egypt as a family but left as a nation.”
Much of the formative development of the people of Israel was experienced in light of the power, prosperity, and influence of Egypt.
Once we see this, the question becomes Why?
Why would God choose to raise His children in this foreign land?
While we can never claim to fully understand the council of God, it seems to me that God used this environment to teach His children a lesson.
Think about it. Egypt represented the absolute apex of human prosperity, power, and order in the ancient world. And they maintained this status, not for centuries, but for millennia. Egypt was the clearest picture of the best that humanity had to offer.
But God wanted something better for His children.
He wanted them to know that no level of human power, prosperity or order could give them what they truly needed.
He wanted them to know His peace or Shalom.
This Shalom doesn’t only speak of peace with the world around us. It speaks of peace with Him.
After the rebellion in the garden, they had never known peace, and they had no way of finding their way back to God. Only God could save His people and give them peace.
And He began to show them this in Egypt.
The ultimate picture came when God gave up His Son, King Jesus, to be killed on our behalf so that we could have peace with Him.
And this peace is better.
Better than everything that we can achieve through our individual effort. And better than all the greatness of humanity which was displayed in Egypt.
He is better and He brings His Shalom to all who will follow Him.