Scripture: 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. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. Exodus 2:23-25 ESV
Observation: Again, the author provides a vague timeline: “those many days.” As mentioned in a recent Daily Focus, each of the three epochs of Moses’ life (prince, shepherd, and leader of God’s people) lasted for about forty years (Luke 7:23-36). We also learn that the Pharaoh who sought Moses’ life when he fled to Midian has since passed away, and his son continues to treat Israel harshly. Thus, God:
- hears his people’s cries
- remembers his covenant with Abraham
- sees (considers) their plight, and
- knows (is concerned)
Takeaway: In the above passage, the author utilizes a literary technique of attributing human characteristics to God (anthropomorphism). But our Creator, who is unrestrained by space and time, does not need to be apprised of any earthly matters. So what does the author want the original audience to remember? Assuming Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible and others contributed to his biographical elements leading up to and beyond his death, the audience would likely be the next generation of Israelites who were about to enter the Promised Land. Thus, Moses yearned they would know that their Lord is a covenant keeper who is attentive to his covenant people and will intervene at the right time to rescue and restore. So be strong and courageous and claim possession of Canaan, for their God is with them.
Indeed, there is no more extraordinary example of our Father’s commitment to his covenant people than that of offering his Son to rescue us from the bondage of slavery and lead us into the Promised Land of his Heavenly Kingdom. So we, too, need to be strong and courageous when we encounter the ill effects of a fallen world and yearn for the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23). And we need to remember that the Holy Spirit, who is in us, “helps us in our weakness,” when we do not even know what to pray for, by interceding for us with “groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). For the groans of God’s people reverberate hope when circumstances feel hopeless.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your message of hope revealed in the death, resurrection, and ascension of your Son. And we thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit, who intercedes on our behalf. Would you please help us be strong and courageous, trusting that you hear our groans of hope and will rescue and restore us in due time? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling