Written by Tony Chan (Senior Partnership Development Officer)
“During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.” (Exodus 2:23)
The old Pharaoh promised to the prime minister Joseph that Joseph would take his father’s family to live in Egypt and live in the “best part of the land” (Genesis 47:6), the region of Goshen. Jacob, the ancestor of the Israelites, was able to reunite with his son Joseph and escape the famine with his family, so he seized the opportunity and moved to Egypt with his family of 70 members. Over the years, Jacob’s family and his offspring lived in Goshen, where they led a prosperous life and increased in numbers. However, the promise of the Egyptian authority did not extend to the new king. Many years later, the pharaoh did not like these foreigners and treated them badly.
Imagine the entire kingdom of Israel as a whole. At first, they thought that Egypt was a good refuge from famine, but then it became a hell on earth. The people were tortured and insulted every day.
By substituting the feelings of the oppressed Israelis of that generation, you may complain that your ancestors made the wrong decision to go to Egypt for their own interests at the time, hence falling into the hands of this evil kingdom. You can also substitute Jacob’s mood. If he had a chance to know that his decision would cause the future generations to suffer, he would have probably regretted it too.
In any case, the Bible verse that the cries of the oppressed went up to God delivers a very important message. Because the Lord listened to the cries of the oppressed, He later used Moses to save them and deliver them from their arduous conditions.
In terms of human trafficking, many poor people let their children go out to work and earn money to support their families because of their economic hardship. They used to think it was an opportunity to change their lives but in turn becomes a crisis. Later, the children are trafficked to dungeons, such as the red light districts and the sweat factories, where they are treated like slaves every day. These are the plights of the poor, and I believe the Lord already knows as He listens to them. As for us who follow God must also listen to the cries of the poor, so that we become the Lord’s instruments and fulfill His good will of saving victims of human trafficking.