and the trees is a growing practice of faith in our household. And not just because Husband is a forester. Seeing the forest and the trees is our deliberate obedience to turn the phrase, "He can't see the forest for the trees."
God has repeatedly used circumstances along the spectrum of blessing and trial to pull us back from our myopic view of life, to teach us about the forest and the trees. Studying through Exodus 1 this week reminded me of this.
The picture of Jacob's family sitting pretty in Goshen, prospering, multiplying and generally enjoying life seems ideal to how obedience brings the blessings of God. That group of 70 is only in Egypt because God wanted them there. The specific events of famine, Joseph's situation and rise to power coupled with Egypt's own dilemma and Pharaoh's favor all pointed to the target of God's general purpose. Certainly, He is to all minds bringing about the promises made to Abraham regarding his descendants.
So when the coinage so quickly turns and the Hebrews are enslaved, it causes any thinking person to ask, "Why?"
Imagine Pharaoh looking at his grand plan of oppression and thinking to himself that he had these Israelites exactly where he wants them--building his storehouses and working in his fields. What an empire he thinks he will build on the backs of these slaves!
Imagine Israel's view looking at the dark bitterness of oppression and thinking to themselves what is going on here? We thought we were right where we were supposed to be, following God's instructions to come to Egypt and live here, fruitfully, for goodness' sake. Has God forgotten His Words to us?
Consider God's view, the One who sees the forest and the trees and says Israel and Pharaoh are right where I want them to be. Israel is being taught to depend upon Me, to trust my Word, to cleave unto my purposes; and Pharaoh will be shown my mighty hand in judgment upon his evil towards my people.
Crisis of faith exists for Israel, but sovereignty of God overrules all circumstances granting assurance and hope. The only security a believer has is in the words of God and what He has said. Israel was pressed to remember God's covenant with Abraham. In the darkest of times when their bodies were being mistreated and their male children murdered, His past voice alone was the reminder of His present presence.
God alone rules the forest and the trees. He'll use any situation necessary to teach His people and His despisers more of Himself. He's still working today whether you're staring at forest or trees.