But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham,
the people grew and multiplied in Egypt till another king arose
who did not know Joseph. This man dealt treacherously
with our people, and oppressed our forefathers (Acts 7:17-19, NKJV).
We live in exciting times, with the magnificent promise of God drawing near when Jesus will return and the world as we know it will end. What a glorious time that will be, but as it was in the days of Moses, life for God’s people may become increasingly more difficult in the interim.
It is easy to dwell on the part of the above passage of scripture that stresses the oppression and suffering of God’s people; in so doing, we often miss the words that declare “the people [of God] grew and multiplied” as “the time of the promise drew near.” Most of us have at least some friends and loved ones who have yet to give their hearts and lives to Christ; as a result, we spend much time in prayer for them. How encouraging to realize that as the time of God’s promise draws near, though suffering and trials may increase, the people of God will grow and multiply, sweeping many into the Kingdom during those last days.
We see it happening in countries all around the world, where persecution of Christians is already rampant. The more the oppressors turn up the heat, the more the Church grows, both in number and in level of commitment. Jesus explained it this way: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV).
Just as God’s promise came to pass in the days of Moses, so it will happen in the very near future. So “be of good cheer,” for the One who has overcome the world is coming again, and despite the heightened level of problems that may come our way, the people of God will continue to grow and multiply until that great and awesome Day of the Lord!