by Pastor Bud Talbert
Exodus 2:23-23 is explaining part of the prelude that led up to God delivering the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. ESV “23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”
When Israel cried out for help, they were praying to God. This was not a cry to friends and/or family. It was a desperate plea (hence the words “groaned” and “cried” and “rescue”) for help from their God. We may encounter similarly desperate and grievous circumstances in life. We need to remember to respond the way Israel did here and cry out to God in a desperate plea for rescue.
The reasons for this are twofold. First, our God has a tender heart toward the vulnerable (Exodus 22:22-23, Deuteronomy 10:18, Lamentations 5:3, Hosea 14:3, James 1:27) and so is particularly attentive to their prayers. Second, we avoid fruitless anxiety or turning to human resources instead of God, and often needlessly.
Then notice the verbs in verses 24 and 25: God heard, God remembered, God saw, and God knew. Did Israel KNOW that God had heard their repeated pleadings for rescue? Were they aware that He remembered His covenant with them through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that it was very important to God? Were they aware that He saw their circumstances, and knew that His people were in desperate circumstances?
Certainly not at first, they did not. Initially, they did not see any evidence that God was doing anything. And often we too see little or no evidence that God hears us. But We do not “walk by sight” and we do not live by sight. We believe that God does hear, remember, see and know our need … by faith. We believe His words to Israel have a broader application to us, and we believe that we must persist in prayer because He has said that we should.
Finally, remember that Israel’s faith was more than vindicated by what happens in the rest of Exodus. Our faith will be vindicated also. How can we be certain that it will? Because without faith we cannot please God. Whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists, and that HE REWARDS THOSE WHO SEEK HIM. Hebrews 11:6.