Waiting for a Deliverer

Posted: September 13, 2018 in Exodus, Uncategorized

Exodus 1-2, “Waiting for a Deliverer”

Waiting can be difficult. We used to think microwaves were fast; now we stare impatiently at the timer. We used to think email was quick; now we want text messages. Soon we’re going to be complaining about the wait before we realize what we’re waiting for! 😊 It’s one thing to wait for food; it’s another to wait out a crisis. During those times, the minutes (hours, days) seem to slow down. It’s as if time slows in proportion to the amount of our trouble, and it just can’t end soon enough.

If we experience that in surgical waiting rooms (and elsewhere), imagine what it was like for the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt! They had a promise of a future homeland, a nation, and the blessing of God, but it seemed like it never came. Years turned into decades, which turned into centuries, and nothing. What to do? They had to trust their Lord God, which meant they had to trust His timing…and that can prove to be the trickiest part of all.

Why were the children of Israel in Egypt in the first place? For that, we need to back up a bit to Genesis. Out of all of humanity, God chose one man through whom He would bring the Messiah (the promised Seed of the woman – Gen 3:15): Abraham. Abraham bore Isaac, Isaac bore Jacob, and Jacob grew into a large family which eventually faced mortal danger. (1) A physical famine threatened their lives, (2) social inter-marriage with the Canaanites threatened their existence. God save the family of Jacob/Israel from both threats through one of Jacob’s sons: Joseph. Despite enduring betrayal, slavery, and imprisonment, Joseph rose to being second-in-command of all Egypt, fully able to deliver his family from the famine, and also give them a temporary home in Egypt where they would have the opportunity to remain pure and grow into a nation.

Of course, that home was supposed to be temporary. Both Jacob and Joseph looked forward to the day their bodies would be returned to the land of promise. Canaan was God’s perpetual gift to His people, and one day all the children of Israel would return. The book of Exodus tells that story.

The Hebrew name of the book is “Now these are the names,” which is literally the first two words of Exodus 1:1 (וְאֵ֗לֶּה שְׁמוֹת֙). Our English name for the book is simply a transliteration of the Greek LXX (ἔξοδος), which seems more descriptive of the whole. Even so, the Hebrew name is not totally irrelevant. The book begins with the names of the tribes of Israel, but continues through it’s conclusion showing the birth of the nation of Israel. The tribes leave Egypt in a grand “exodus,” but the reason they leave is so they can bear the “name” of Israel in their own land as their own people worshipping their own God. Whatever you call the book, it contains a mighty history of God’s glorious deliverance of His people unto freedom.

Its author is Moses, which, though debated by liberal scholars, is unquestioned by the rest of the Bible, including the Lord Jesus. When referring to the burning bush, Jesus talks about “the book of Moses,” (Mk 12:26) – something that could be said of each of the 1st 5 books of the Bible, with the Pentateuch as whole being considered “the books of Moses.” Undoubtedly he wrote it during the 40 years of wilderness wandering, probably in the range of 1446-1400BC, recording all that God revealed to him for the benefit of the Hebrews who would eventually live in the Promised Land.

As the book begins, a need is seen for deliverance, and a man has been destined as the deliverer. The question was if anyone among Israel would look to God to provide His deliverer in His way. Too often we try to run ahead of God. We think we might know His plans, but we’re too impatient to wait upon His timing. Wait upon the Lord! He hasn’t forgotten you…of that you can be sure!

Exodus 1 – Slavery and Suffering

  • Growth of Israel (1-7)

1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt; each man and his household came with Jacob: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; 4 Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 All those who were descendants of Jacob were seventy persons (for Joseph was in Egypt already).

  1. Exodus opens with a quick reminder for the context. The whole family of Israel went down to Egypt, totaling 70 persons (75, depending how you count Joseph & his family) – quite a large family, even for the day. The single man of Jacob had turned into the clan of Israel (both names used here in reminder of God’s work in Jacob’s own life), and this clan had survived the famine and following years. 

6 And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. 7 But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.

  1. Time passed, the generation of the patriarchs died, and Israel was blessed with growth…exceeding growth! The wording is reminiscent of the opening chapters of Genesis, after God gave the command to mankind to be fruitful and multiply. Specifically to the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God had promised that they would grow into such numbers that they would be beyond count – like the sand of the seashore or the stars in the sky. The population explosion in Egypt was a sign that God kept His promise. (And if He proved true in part of His word, surely He would prove true in all of it!)
  2. There was so much growth, in fact, that the Hebrews became seen as a threat by the Egyptians.
  • Egypt’s fear of the Hebrews (8-14)

8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; 10 come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.”

  1. In generations past, the Hebrews enjoyed a certain amount of protection and safety in the land of Egypt. Joseph had been the prime minister to Pharaoh, and the king of Egypt gave him full permission to do to his family whatever it was that needed to be done. But Joseph wasn’t there any longer. Time passed, administrations changed. Joseph’s position wasn’t hereditary, and the Hebrews were just a foreign people group living within the borders of Egypt.
  2. With a new Pharaoh came new policy. He believed it wise (“shrewd”) to subjugate the Hebrews. All of the new population could easily form an army, and soon it could be Pharaoh and the native Egyptians who were servants; not the Hebrews. Depending how one dates the book of Exodus, this attitude might be explained by the temporary rule of the Hyksos people over Egypt during the 15th-17th dynasties (1650-1550BC). The Hyksos were also a Semitic people like the Hebrews, and had actually taken control of Egypt until the native Egyptians took it back in 1550BC. If Jacob, Joseph and the others had arrived around 1880BC, then the Hebrews would have been in Egypt during the entire upheaval of the Hyksos. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the new Pharaoh wanted to prevent the Hebrews from becoming a similar kind of threat. (Of course, the way he handled it was sinful!)
  3. None of this ought to have been a surprise to the Israelites. All of this had been prophesied from God to Abraham. Genesis 15:13–16, “(13) Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. (14) And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. (15) Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. (16) But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”” 400 years needed to pass before the Israelites headed home, and during that time they were specifically told that they would expect suffering and subjugation. It wouldn’t make it easy to handle, but it at least provided an expiration date to their trial. For the Hebrews who had faith in the Lord, all they needed to do was remember this promise, and start counting down the years.
    1. That’s one of the glorious benefits of having God’s word written down, freely available to us to read. We can see God’s promises with our own eyes, and take comfort. We can read God’s prophecies, and be reassured things aren’t out of control. Waiting is always difficult, but it’s far better when we wait with the word of God!

11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel.

  1. The Hebrews became forced labor for construction. Unlike what popular movies may depict, the Hebrews did not build the pyramids (which date to 2580BC), but they did build at least a couple of cities for the Egyptians. Although the names of the cities have caused some to place the Exodus at a much later date (middle 1200’s BC), we need to remember that city names can come from more than one source (i.e. a particular king), and that sometimes names are updated for later audiences. However the cities were named, its not enough to get sidetracked from the main point: the Hebrews, though one-time guests, were now slaves.
  2. Note: the Hebrews continued to multiply and grow. God had chosen the Hebrews for growth, and no matter how they were afflicted by the Egyptians, God’s choice did not change. God’s blessings cannot be undone!
    1. What hope this gives us in our own times of waiting & suffering! God will not reverse what He has granted us in Christ Jesus. The work He has begun in us, He will be faithful to complete (Phil 1:6) – His gifts and callings are irrevocable (Rom 11:29). He has chosen us for His own, just as we chose to surrender our lives to Jesus as Lord & Savior, and His choice will not be undone!

13 So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.

  1. The emphasis is on harsh, bitter service. It’s not only that the Hebrews served Egypt with the sweat of their brows, but that Egypt demanded that service with harsh ruthlessness. Just as the American experience has dealt with the issue of ruthless generational slavery of an entire race, so did the Egyptians do to the Hebrews.
    1. This is remembered in the modern Passover meal with the bitter herbs. There’s a reason that the Jews are supposed to bite into raw horseradish and wince: it reminds them of the suffering of their forefathers. That their suffering has ended reminds them to give God praise.
    2. From a Christian perspective, we ought to remember our bitter slavery as well: our former slavery to sin. It keeps us humble in our attitudes, compassionate towards those still lost, and forever grateful for the grace in which we live!
  2. Question: Was there a point to all of this rigorous labor and suffering? Why would God allow His chosen people to endure it? Answer: Among other things, it would make the Hebrews hunger for God’s freedom. It would cause them to look to God, plead for help, and beg Him for a deliverer (which the end of Chapter 2 demonstrates that they did). Just like the law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, so is suffering a vehicle to bring us to Someone who offers relief. (Jesus alone!)
  3. Of course, in the midst of this, the children of Israel are still multiplying. Hard labor had not slowed the population growth, so Pharaoh decided he needed to take more forceful action.
  • Pharaoh’s order to kill the sons (15-22)

15 Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; 16 and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.

  1. Pharaoh’s new plan: kill the Hebrew male children. For whatever reason, Pharaoh feared the male children more than the female (though in Chapters 1-2, it was the females that foiled his plans every time). He ordered the midwives to kill the Hebrew sons in childbirth, which might make it appear to be more of an “accident” than murder (although everyone would know the truth). Two of the midwives are named – they likely represented the other Hebrew midwives as a whole, and surely they all followed the example of the two who are mentioned.
  2. Facing a direct order from the king of the land, what did the midwives do? They directly disobeyed. They took care of the male children in the same manner that they cared for the females: desiring to deliver every single one alive & healthy. Why? The midwives “feared God” more than they feared Pharaoh.
    1. And rightly so! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10), and these women knew that they would face an authority far higher than that of Pharaoh. Whatever it was that Pharaoh could do to them, it was nothing compared with the judgment of Almighty God. But more than terror, the midwives were motivated by their holy reverence and awe of God. They knew that God would never condone of murder, so they did what they could to preserve life.
    2. When it comes to a choice between obeying men or God, the choice is clear: we obey God! His word and command is the highest of authorities, no matter what the laws of men might proclaim. As a whole, we are to respect and obey earthly authorities, but when they come in conflict with the word of God, God’s word is to rule every time.
  3. BTW – In the midst of all of this waiting for a deliverer, the Hebrew midwives waited the right way. They did not rise up in outright defiance of Pharaoh, nor did they try to subvert the culture from the inside. They simply used the opportunity God gave them to glorify God. They would not be able to deliver the entire nation, but they could deliver the baby boys from death, even if it was one at a time.
    1. Use the opportunities God gives you! Too often, we spend our efforts trying to make our own opportunities and force our own plans, without looking at what God has right in front of us. One person says “I want to preach to thousands, just like Billy Graham!” Wonderful…but have you shared the gospel with your next door neighbor? Look around. What is it God has already given you to do? While you wait, do that.

18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?” 19 And the midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.”

  1. Did the midwives lie? Did they have a choice? Maybe yes, maybe no. They could have been honest, and taken the punishment given them by Pharaoh…but if they had, perhaps they would have been killed & unable to save any future baby boys. Ethics ought never be judged on the basis of “the ends justifying the means,” but it seems that the midwives were caught between a rock and a hard place, and they chose the least-bad of the options.
    1. Interestingly, Moses as the author of Exodus, did not cast a moral judgment on the midwives. He simply recorded the fact of what they did. He was probably one who owed his life to the midwives’ act.
  2. Did God judge the midwives for their lie? Absolutely not! He blessed them for their faithfulness to life and His will.

20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. 21 And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them.

  1. God knew the state of the midwives’ hearts, and He judged them accordingly…with blessing! To say that “He provided households for them” is to say that God gave them families of their own. Whether they were previously barren, or what their lives were like prior to that point was unknown, but God certainly blessed them going forward. They feared/worshipped God, and God treated them with His mercy and grace.
  2. God knows us, including our hearts and motives. That doesn’t give us free-reign to do whatever we want, but God also knows when we’re forced to make the least bad of terrible choices. He knows when we act for our own comfort or for His glory.

22 So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.”

  1. Pharaoh’s final plan: open infanticide. There was no more depending on the midwives – every family was responsible for drowning their own newborn sons. It was suffering on an awful scale…incomprehensible! In this, there is a foreshadowing of Passover. The final plague given to Egypt was the deaths of their firstborn sons – no doubt a direct response to the terrible order of Pharaoh.

At this point, things look absolutely awful! The Hebrews are enslaved, and their children are being systematically attacked by the evil order of Pharaoh. Once again, the nation is in danger of extinction. What can be done? God was already doing it. He had a plan for a deliverer, and that plan was set in motion with Moses.

Exodus 2 – Moses’ beginnings

  • Birth & deliverance (1-10)

1 And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. 2 So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.

  1. The mother’s name was Jochebed (6:20). She gave birth to a son, and couldn’t bring herself to follow through with Pharaoh’s command. (Who could?!) She hid him away as long as possible. Can you imagine? She & her husband Amram would hardly have been able to even rejoice with their neighbors over the birth of their son. After all, who knows how many of them had been forced to drown their children? Jochebed kept her infant boy an absolute secret, trying to hush every cry, and anticipate any noise the baby would make. Eventually something would have to be done with the boy, but what?
  2. BTW – Did Jochebed save Moses just because he was good looking? Every mother believes their baby is beautiful, but what set this mother’s love for her son apart from any other? “Beautiful” (NKJV) is literally “good,” (ט֣וֹב). Contextually, it could mean “beautiful,” but it could also mean “fine” (ESV, NIV) or “healthy.” Some have seen a parallel to the creation account – just like God saw His creation as “good,” so did Jochebed see her baby boy. Perhaps there was something about this child that seemed stronger than the rest. Whatever it was, it stood out to her, and she knew she had to take action to save him.

3 But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. 4 And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.

  1. In the end, Jochebed still put her son into the river. It was the letter of the law, even if not the intent, for she put her son in the river as carefully as possible. Just as Noah was delivered from the waters of the flood by being enclosed in an ark sealed with pitch, so was baby Moses. The three-month old infant was put in a watertight bassinette and sent downstream.
  2. Question: Was this carelessness – cruelty? It was trust. Ultimately, Jochebed had no choice other than entrust her son to God. God had obviously led her to save her child; she had to trust that God would do the same.
    1. When we wait, it is imperative we trust. Waiting without faith is maddening – there is no rock to which to cling, no foundation upon which to stand. But with faith, waiting is possible. Again, it’s not always easy, but it’s doable. A solid faith and trust in Jesus (His goodness & His word) enables us to wait.
  3. Miriam (Moses’ sister) watched from the riverbank…something soon to be used by God for her baby brother’s deliverance.

5 Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. 6 And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

  1. The princess recognized the baby as a Hebrew, but she still had compassion. “Compassion” could be translated as “spare.” She spared the baby boy from certain death.
  2. Note: This is an Egyptian princess – the daughter of the chief enemy of God’s people. Yet she was the one used by God to deliver the future deliverer. Can God use impossible situations for His glory? Yes! 

7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?” 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.

  1. In a wonderful turn of events, Moses’ older sister Miriam calls to the Egyptian princess asking if she could find a nursemaid for the child. When all was said and done, Jochebed not only saw the salvation of her son from death, but she was able to (1) continue personally nursing him, (2) spend quality time with him in his formative years, and (3) get paid for doing it! Sometimes we think the miracles in Exodus don’t begin until Moses sees the burning bush on Mount Sinai. Not true! The first miracle in Exodus was Moses’ own deliverance & upbringing!

10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

  1. Moses’ name involves a bit of word-play, as it sounds like the word for “drawn out.” There’s no small amount of irony here. The Egyptians looked to the Nile River as a source of life and nourishment, and from the Nile came the Hebrew prophet that would be the spokesman for one of the greatest threats they ever faced. This time, life hadn’t come from the Nile; judgment had. Not immediate…but judgment would come in the timing of God.
  2. The cross can be seen in a similar way. Some would look at the cross as a place of defeat – the place where the ministry of Jesus ended as He was nailed there and left to die. In truth, the cross is the exact opposite: a place of victory! There, the price of sin was paid and Jesus became the sacrifice for all mankind. But there is both life and judgment in the cross. To those who believe, Jesus is our source of life, forgiveness, and eternity with God in His good pleasure. To those who reject Jesus, He is their Judge.
  • Foolishness & flight from Egypt (11-15)

11 Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

  1. Time passed, and Moses grew. What happened in the meantime, Moses (as the author) leaves unsaid. In his defense before the Jewish Sanhedrin, Stephen spoke of Moses’ wisdom & mighty deeds, but Stephen drew from historical tradition; not the Scripture. It’s not at all unreasonable to assume that Moses grew up with all the benefits of the Egyptian royal household, but we have to remember that Moses always knew that he was not an Egyptian. His own mother was his nursemaid, and although we do not know how long she played a role in his life, there’s little doubt she told him the truth from an early age. 
  2. So Moses grew up as an outsider, recognized his situation as one given by God, and rightly assumed himself to be God’s chosen deliverer of God’s people. One day, he decided to act. He saw a legitimate problem but came up with an illegitimate solution. Seeing an Egyptian abuse a Hebrew, Moses killed the Egyptian and attempted a (literal) coverup. Question: What was wrong with the act? Moses was destined to be the deliverer, but in this moment he was a vigilante – a murderer. He hadn’t done it according to God’s command, nor did he do it in God’s way. The midwives had broken the law of Pharaoh, but they kept the law of God (apart from lying). Nothing Moses did in this situation was righteous. The midwives preserved life; Moses took it. The midwives feared God; Moses says nothing of his own relationship with God at this point. This was Moses acting according to his own flesh, and it was sinful.

13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your companion?” 14 Then he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” So Moses feared and said, “Surely this thing is known!”

  1. The very next day, Moses saw a similar situation between two Hebrews. This time, he tried to be a peacemaker and failed. The Hebrews wanted nothing to do with Moses, thinking him to be entitled & self-important, with no real relevance or authority in the matter. Moses hadn’t acted with godly authority, and the Hebrews certainly didn’t recognize any evidence of it.
  2. Of course, God would make Moses “a prince and a judge over” the Hebrews…but not yet. This wasn’t the time – Moses wasn’t personally ready. Moses had been as impetuous and egotistical as the Hebrews had accused him of being, just assuming he could kill the Egyptian and get away with it. God had a work to do in Moses before Moses would be ready to do a work for God in Egypt.
  3. From Moses’ perspective, the worst part wasn’t the rejection by his own countrymen; it was the fact that the news of his crime had gone public. His life was in danger, and he needed to leave quick!

15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.

  1. For the 2nd time in his life, Moses was in danger of death & needed urgent deliverance. He was but one man facing down the might of the Egyptian superpower. He had no choice except to run for his life.
  2. Where did he go? The exact location Moses went is unknown, but he symbolically followed in the footsteps of his forefathers. Like his ancestor Jacob, he sat down by a well, where he would soon meet the woman he would eventually marry.
  • Deliverance in Midian (16-22)

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. And they came and drew water, and they filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Then the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

  1. The sovereign timing of God is again on display. Moses “just happened” to show up at the exact well where these women would be, and they “just happened” to be in need of his help. There is no coincidence with the Lord…this was exactly according to His plan!
  2. Moses acted again – this time, not as a vigilante, but in justice and compassion. What exactly Moses did to “help” them (deliver them / save them ~ יָשַׁע) is unknown…but he was making progress in that it wasn’t criminal or violent. He was learning to do things God’s way – learning the lessons of humility.

18 When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “How is it that you have come so soon today?” 19 And they said, “An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and he also drew enough water for us and watered the flock.” 20 So he said to his daughters, “And where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.”

  1. Reuel/Jethro was surprised to see his daughters return so quickly, and was even more surprised that his daughters lacked in basic hospitality. A total stranger dressed like an Egyptian had saved them from their habitual trouble with the local shepherds, and they hadn’t even invited him home to dinner! 

21 Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses. 22 And she bore him a son. He called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.”

  1. This was Moses’ 2nd First he was rescued from the river by Pharaoh’s daughter; now he was rescued from being a refugee by the priest of Midian. He would spend the next 40 years in the wilderness of Midian with Reuel, learning the lessons of humility and shepherding. It may have been a foreign place for him, but it was a true proving ground used by God.
  • God hears the Hebrews (23-25)

23 Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.

  1. If suffering was supposed to make Israel long for God, it worked. They “cried out” and “groaned” for God. The new Pharaoh did not lessen the load upon the Hebrews, and their suffering continued. They sighed, cried, and groaned for the Lord, pleading with Him for help.
  2. Although it may not have seemed like it at the time, their prayers did not go unanswered. God was well-aware of everything they endured, and already had a plan in place in which to deal with it. How much had God paid attention to the prayers of His people? Look at the various descriptions in vss. 24-25…

24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.

  1. God “heard” their sighing groans of anguish. He heard the cries of their hearts, understanding their pain.
  2. God “remembered” the promises He made to Abraham, specifically that God would bless those who blessed Abraham, and curse those who cursed him (Gen 12:3). Not that God ever forgot these promises, but He “remembered” them in that it was time to be fulfilled. Those promises once again came to the forefront of His plan.
  3. God “looked” at His children, seeing their suffering. His attention turned directly to His people, and He saw every whip that came down upon them, and every baby that was murdered in the river. Nothing escaped His attention.
  4. God “acknowledged them” – literally saying, “God knew” It wasn’t that God simply nodded in their direction; He knew every bit of the suffering of His people, and He was fixed upon them. Not a thing done unto them would go unanswered, and God would see that His people would have justice.
  5. God did that with ancient Israel, but He does that us, too. There is not a thing we endure He does not know, not a promise He does not keep, not a son or daughter of His that He ignores. He hears, remembers, sees, and knows us, too…all because of Jesus! Have you been suffering and waiting for God to act? Keep your eyes on Him, for He sees you & will act according to His promise!


A nation needed a deliverer, and a man was convinced he was supposed to be that deliverer. God had raised him up and saved his life on at least two occasions for exactly that purpose. But…that didn’t mean it was yet time for Moses to act as the deliverer. The timing of God had to be right, and God was still doing a work in both the nation and the man. God was getting them both where they needed to be in order that they would be willing to be used by God for His glory. 

Some in Israel were already willing and prepared: the midwives, for example. They maintained a proper fear of God and used the opportunities given them the best way they knew how. Moses, on the other hand, still had much to learn (as did most of the Hebrews). Freedom would not come through the strength or plans of men; it would only come by the grace and power of God. They needed to look to God alone, and wait upon His will.

So do we! God has not forgotten us, so we don’t need to fear that He has by running ahead of Him doing the things that are on our own agenda, instead of His. Wait upon the Lord! Walk according to His will & His word. Some things take time, because there may be more than one thing going on. We’re often so focused on the situation outside of us that we forget about the battles on the inside. Often, God works within us to transform us before He works to transform our circumstances. He cares more about who we are than the things we endure. That’s not to say our situations aren’t important – by no means! God sees us, hears our groanings, and knows us…but He will do His work in His way according to His time. We just need to wait on Him.


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