Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Genesis 50:24.
Only a few families went down into Egypt, but they had become a great multitude. And being surrounded with idolatry, many had lost the knowledge of the true God and had forgotten His law. Yet there were some among them who still worshipped … the maker of the heavens and the earth. They were grieved to see their children daily witnessing, and even engaging in, the abominations of the idolatrous people around them…. In their distress the faithful cried unto the Lord for deliverance from the Egyptian yoke….
They did not conceal their faith but openly acknowledged before the Egyptians that they served the only true and living God. They rehearsed the evidences of His existence and power, from Creation down. The Egyptians thus had an opportunity to become acquainted with the faith of the Hebrews, and their God….
The elders of Israel endeavored to encourage the sinking faith of their brethren by referring to the promise made to Abraham and the prophetic words of Joseph before his death, foretelling their deliverance from Egypt. Some would listen and believe. Others looked at their own sad condition and would not hope. When the Egyptians learned the expectations of the children of Israel, they derided their hopes of deliverance and spoke scornfully of the power of their God….
The faithful servants of God understood that it was because of their unfaithfulness to Him as a people and their disposition to intermarry with other nations, thus being led into idolatry, that the Lord had suffered them to go into Egypt….
But many of the Hebrews were content to remain in bondage rather than to go to a new country and meet the difficulties attending such a journey; and the habits of some had become so much like those of the Egyptians that they preferred to dwell in Egypt. Therefore the Lord did not deliver them by the first display of His signs and wonders before Pharaoh. He overruled events to more fully develop the tyrannical spirit of the Egyptian king, and also by manifestations of almighty power to give the Israelites more exalted views of the divine character, that they might be anxious to leave Egypt and choose the service of the true and merciful God.—Signs of the Times, March 4, 1880.