But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became.—Exodus 1:12 (NLT)
The song “We Shall Overcome” was an anthem of the American civil rights movement, and it was also the theme of the speech that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave the week before his assassination in 1968. In fact, the parallels between American history and the events of the book of Exodus are uncanny.
From the Life Application Study Bible® Devotion:
The Egyptians tried to wear down the Hebrew people by forcing them into slavery and mistreating them. Instead, the Hebrews multiplied and grew stronger. When we are burdened or mistreated, we may feel defeated. But our burdens can make us stronger and can develop qualities in us that will prepare us for the future. We cannot be overcomers without troubles to overcome. Be true to God in the hard times because even the worst situations can make us better people.
Slavery was no doubt one of the worst practices in American history, but I think that era taught African-Americans that if they had the strength to endure that, then they also had the strength to achieve the social strides and freedoms they deserved. If anything, we can look up to Dr. King, Rosa Parks and other leaders in the civil rights movement, no matter what your ethnicity. They stood up for what was right, stated plainly that everyone should be treated equally no matter the color of their skin, and they weren’t afraid of making sure it was proclaimed out in public.
We are all slaves today. Jesus taught us that no one can serve two masters, so we are either slaves to Christ or slaves to sin. The difference is that when you are a slave to sin, you are overcome, but when you are a slave to Jesus, he will overcome for you. As Christians, we can also look to these leaders as role models for our evangelism and remembering to preach Christ accurately to others.