As we begin this next reading in the book of Exodus, we find that the descendents of Abraham have become very numerous in the land of Egypt. Unfortunately, the Egyptians took advantage of this group of people whom they previously had treated with kindness and benevolence. They are now living the miserable existence of slave laborers. As the centuries go by, their servitude seems to have no end in sight. But after 400 years, in accordance with the prophecy given to Abraham in Genesis 15, God was ready to deliver them, and to bring this fledgling nation into possession of the land promised to them. Yet, there is still the lingering question of why? It seems like such a detour for God’s people to be held in bondage in a foreign land, when they were his chosen people. But I think this teaches us the principle that the people of God must experience great hardship and challenges before we experience the wonderful vision of the future that he has for us. Just like the Israelites, we have been promised to inherit a glorious land, but here we are stuck in an existence that quite often seems like slavery. We also cry out for deliverance, and wonder why God allows our lives to be so difficult. Why must we face illness, tragedy, and untimely death? We should know the reason for all of this. Why is it so hard for us to remember that we are still living on planet Egypt? While we continue to labor and try to satisfy the demands of an impossible overseer, we must keep alive the hope of a promised land we can scarcely dream of. The day of deliverance will soon arrive and we will never look back.