BIAY – Exodus 1:8 – Reflecting Back

“Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph…”

Exodus 1:8

The Exodus story goes from there with this new Pharaoh enslaving the Hebrew people which eventually led to the Moses story and the exodus from Egypt into the Promised Land.  

But that initial verse has really stuck with me and it reminded me of a more recent quote by Edmund Burke… 

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.  

I know that this verse in Exodus 1:8 isn’t an incidence of “repeating history” per se but it is a story of one forgetting (or choosing to ignore) history.  We have seen time and time again how dangerous it is when we forget or willfully choose to ignore our histories.  It isn’t about trying to just make us feel bad about our past but instead how do we learn from those who came before us to move into different directions today?  I am not afraid of my children knowing the full history of our country (both the beautiful and the terrible) or the similar histories of the church or even of my own personal history.  All of it makes up who we are today.  

When we are willing to reflect back, we can see the bigger arcs of history.  We can see how far we have come.  We can see beauty.  We can see sorrow.  We can see growth.  We can see change.  We can see hope.  


I just felt I needed to add something to this. I did not know that when I wrote this a few days ago that it was also Holocaust Remembrance Day. And then a Tennessee school board later in the week goes and bans Maus, an amazing and powerful and necessary graphic novel about the Holocaust, from their school curriculum supposedly because of language and nudity. Actions like this are why we need to remember. The numbers of people who deny the reality of the Holocaust is stunning and actions like this only make it disappear further and further into the past. When we forget what happened in the Holocaust or in any number of other atrocities that have been perpetrated is when we repeat them.

So go out any buy a copy of Maus today if you haven’t read it already. I read it when I was in college and many times since. Read it. Remember it. Never forget what we have done to one another. Remember what happens when we “no longer know Joseph”…

Categories: BibleTags: , , , , ,

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