Israel in Egypt
The humanitarian crisis of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the violence of the Russian invasion would be much more severe if not for Poland extending a warm welcome to the displaced crowd. By some accounts, Krakow is now home to 150,000 of these refugees, making the city about one quarter Ukrainian.
It seems out of character for the Polish government to be so helpful—Poland and Ukraine have had serious conflicts of their own for several years. This time, however, it’s a uniquely Polish demographic that is driving the benevolence: Holocaust survivors.
Krakow Jewish Community Center Executive Director Jonathan Ornstein explains, “We’re very mindful of where we are. This isn’t a Jewish community somewhere in the world. This is a Jewish community next to Auschwitz. … We’re in a part of the world where Jews have seen so much suffering, and we’re in a position to help.”
Just as Poland is a surprising but welcomed refuge for its former opponents, Egypt was probably the most unlikely landing place for a family of nomads from Canaan. Scripture tells us that the Egyptians actually despised shepherds. God, however, paved the way for their unexpected welcome through Joseph’s unprecedented rise to prominence in the superpower nation. Jacob and his tribe not only found a sanctuary from the increasingly severe famine, they also experienced a joyous family reunion when Jacob embraced his long-lost son.
As the Genesis story concludes, we see Jacob settling into a good life in the land of Goshen. He was blessed to live out his remaining years surrounded by his growing family.
The deathbed pronouncements he made over his children contained some blessings, but many included strongly pointed prophecies and even some curses. These run the gamut of human experience, illustrating the realities of our lives as refugees on this planet. The good news is that Jesus opened the way for us to return from this exile to our eternal, heavenly home.
Connecting: If you had to flee your home due to a wildfire or flood, what is one thing you would be sure to grab on your way out?
Sharing: In Genesis 47:7, Jacob presumed to bless Pharaoh, even though Pharaoh was the most powerful man in the world. What is the best way we can bless those in positions of authority in our lives?
- When we work diligently, it reflects well on our supervisors
- When we pray for those in governmental positions, they could possibly become even better leaders
- They will always appreciate our critiques and suggestions on how they can do their jobs better
- It blesses them when we give them the benefit of the doubt—those in positions of authority often carry burdens that no one else can understand
- Though it’s a good idea in principle, we should be careful how we bless others; Proverbs 27:14 says that a loud blessing in the morning is considered a curse
Applying: The Ukraine crisis is just one of many humanitarian crises in the world today. Check out www.ADRA.org to learn more about the recent World Refugee Sabbath and other ways you can help alleviate the sufferings of others.