Years passed. Joseph’s parents died, along with many aged Israelites, and then Joseph’s death severed the protective link that had allowed them to live with status in a foreign land.
The chilling verse that reveals the change that is to occur reveals that a King rose to power that had known nothing about Joseph.
The chosen people of God were forced to become slaves and they were stripped of their status, affluence and peaceful existence. They toiled in the fields and made bricks for the many building projects in Egypt.
After years of sub-human treatment, Jehovah decided to free His people from slavery and selected Moses, who had been saved from the execution of all first-born Hebrew sons by having been floated down the Nile River where the Pharaoh’s daughter found him. Thus, the eventual leader of the exodus from Egypt became a part of the royal household.
One of the enduring legacies of the chosen people is the recurrent theme that reveals that they could no longer sing in a strange land. Life had changed, dramatically, and the songs were silent.
The passing years provided for the Promised Land and after 40 years of wandering around in the nomadic fashion of people who had no idea where they were going, they finally went into the land of milk and honey, but not one of the Israelites who had left Egypt as Moses led them to freedom, lived to see it. We can disobey God, but there is a price that may need to be paid.
In America, today, Christians have a parallel experience with the Hebrews of long ago in the attempt to sing the song of faith in a land that is becoming more and more strangely allied with the control of expression. The history of America’s founding, established law, matters of individual rights provided by citizenship, and freely delivered expressions of faith in God is under attack by various entities all of which are determined to erase Christian faith from any public expression.
The educational system continues to limit any student from doing much that would be seen as religious in nature while on the school grounds. Prayer in school is a thing of the past and any hint of discrimination by those who deny Christianity becomes the focal point for educational administrators to defend their presumed agnostic or atheist ‘rights’ that deny the Christian foundation upon which this country was laid.
The legal system is wrapped in the growing nuance of law that is interpreted as non-religious in nature and has begun to rule that expressions of Christian faith cannot be tolerated in forums and groups where some, professing no inclination toward religious faith, might be offended.
American Christians, divided as to the manner in which personal expressions of belief should be presented have felt, and continue to feel, the difficulty of singing the songs of Zion and of God in a land that is bereft of any original religious intent of the founders that allowed for singing the songs of faith in a land flowing with milk and honey.
“Sing us the songs of Zion,” they shouted, and laughed as the slaves toiled in the sun and fainted from exhaustion. Their joy had been denied and their worship of God was prohibited as the government stripped away their heritage. Their land had changed and those who had the authority to silence any public expression of God controlled their normal daily life.
“How can we sing in this strange land?” Christians in America are singing less and are being silenced by a government that portends to create a truly strange land.