“I will grant this people favor with the Egyptians, so that when you depart you will not leave empty-handed . . . Instruct the people that each man and each woman is to request from his or her neighbor items of silver and gold . . . Now the Israelites had done as Moses told them – they had requested from the Egyptians silver and gold items and clothing. The LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and they gave them whatever they wanted, and so they plundered Egypt. (Exodus 3:21; 11:2; 12:35-36, NET)
Have you ever borrowed something from a neighbor? A cup of sugar, a ladder, a tool? Most neighbors are, well, neighborly and are happy to help. I have a couple of good friends who live on my street, and we freely share recipe ingredients or whatever to save an emergency trip to the store. But I have never, ever, gone to a neighbor and asked for theirs jewels, their gold, or their best clothing. Yet, that is exactly what the Israelites did as they prepared to exit Egypt.
Of course, there is a backstory. The children of Israel moved to Egypt during a time of great famine. Joseph, their brother, was the number two man in the kingdom, and all went well for them for many years. Their number increased from the original seventy to hundreds of thousands, and that became a problem. Exodus 1:8 says, “Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power over Egypt.” Fearing the Israelites would soon outnumber the Egyptians and take over the land, he made them slaves. Verse 13 says that “they made the Israelites serve rigorously.” They had gone from favored status to performing hard labor. God set in motion events that led them from Egypt into the land of promise—and they did not depart emptyhanded. This fulfilled the prophecy God gave to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-14.
Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign country. They will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. But I will execute judgment on the nation that they will serve. Afterward they will come out with many possessions. (NET)
Only God could enable a multitude of slaves to plunder an entire country without a fight. Only God could repay them for their years of servitude with the wealth of Egypt. Only God could provide them the gold and precious jewels they would need to construct the Tabernacle as their place of worship. He had it all planned many years before they ever stepped foot into Egypt.
If you are facing difficult times and uncertainty, do not fear. God has given you precious promises as well. He has a plan for your life, and He will fulfill it. Trust in His faithfulness and see what great miracles He will perform in your behalf.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! I strengthen you – yes, I help you – yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand! (Isaiah 41:10, NET)