Exodus 1:8 NLT Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done.
Exodus 1:12 NKJV But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel.
Fear can drive and motivate people to oppress others and put them down. That is exactly what happened in Egypt. Things were well for the Children of Israel in Egypt for a number of years after Joseph’s death. His fame and feats in Egypt were greatly praised for a few generations. Then there arose a new pharaoh in Egypt who had not been told of the history of Joseph or his people. Exodus 1:9 says he saw the fruitfulness of the Children of Israel both financially and in their offspring and became afraid that they would take over Egypt. Motivated by his fear they began to degrade and enslave the Israelites. Fear is a bully and fear will cause you to bully others.
You may not be enslaving others, but our fears can cause us to put others down. Fears that a loved one is going to become obese because of the diet they maintain may drive you to nag, “You’re getting a little chunky and you’d better quit eating that garbage unless you want to get fat.” You obviously concern for them led to a fear that they are destroying their health, yet your response driven by the fear only served to oppress them and put them down.
Another way we see this in affect is in the work place. Sometimes when an employee begins to experience success or a new employee gains favor with a boss another can become threatened that their success or favor will overshadow them. In response they begin to put them down spreading rumors about them or even sabotaging or degrading their work. I saw this time and time again in the secular work force and unfortunately have seen it in the church too.
Too many times I’ve seen the people being abundantly blessed by the Lord in some area. Maybe they just got a promotion, a bonus, a new home, car, their kids are doing well in school, etc… Then someone else who should be rejoicing for them gets jealous and begins to fear they are going to lose the spotlight of attention as “God’s favored child” in the church so they begin to spread rumors and make snide comments about them in a sick way of trying to promote themselves. Yuck!
If fear is driving you to slander or put down others bullying them? Stop it. Not only are you hurting others, but like the Egyptians you are ultimately hurting yourself worse. If God is blessing a brother rejoice, that means there are still blessings available and you can have more too. Instead of putting your loved one down on their diet, try having a candid conversation about their food choices and your concern for their long-term health. At work, stay diligent, learn new skills, improve your performance, work as unto the Lord and keep your mouth shut. Let Him lift you up.
One last point. Egypt of sin and the world was trying to keep Israel down and in bondage. Don’t act like the world, put on Christ (Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27). Don’t be driven by fear and be a bully; Yield to the Spirit of God and build others up. Fear Not!