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
Have you ever been in another room in the house but all of a sudden you hear the cries and screams of one of your children echo through the halls? In an instant you know. You know something has gone horribly wrong, the quiet of your children in the moments before the scream was really the “danger quiet” – that quiet of children doing things they know are wrong, so they do them very quietly to see if they can avoid getting caught. Until someone gets hurt. Then almost as if all these missing puzzle pieces come shuffling into place, I can know every part of the activity I was previously missing as I am racing towards the injured. My mother’s heart attends to the cries of my children. I can know by a look on their face or a slight whimper that something is not right, and I can tell by their cry whether they are hurt a little or a lot. I have studied and learned my children because they are mine.
Exodus relays the story of the Israelites in captivity in Egypt. Slavery, loss, suffering, and death had become their way of life. The people of Israel groaned and cried out for help; their cry for rescue came up to God. God heard their cries. And then look in this passage: God remembered His covenant, He saw, and God knew.
He intimately knows your hurt, your need, your desire and your hope. Easily I forget in the living out of hard spaces. I begin to doubt that He knows His plan, His way for His glory. Just like with his plan for the Israelites rescue, He is at work in you and me.
God heard their groaning
God hears our cries. He heard the Hebrews’ groanings of fear, worry, confusion, and heartache. They had come to Egypt as welcomed guests many years ago, but over the years their growth and prosperity threatened the king of Egypt. In response Pharaoh had slaughtered a generation of their boys and ruthlessly demanded the people of Israel work as slaves.
He hears the murmurs of our hearts, the yearnings of our souls, and He listens. Over and over we see God listening to the cries of his people. Psalm 18:6 says, “In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” How beautiful to know that God hears our voices and our cries!
God remembered his covenant
As the people are crying out, desperate for Him, His help and His intervention, God remembers His covenant promise. He does not remember their good acts, their obedience, their anything. He remembers His promise to Abraham.
His faithful word held all the merit that was needed. The promise then was to a people set apart who were offered relationship and protection from God.
God established a new covenant through His son Jesus Christ. Jesus settled the issue of payment for our sin once and for all with His death on the cross and defeated death for eternity through His resurrection. Hebrews 8:6 declares, “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” The new covenant offered through Jesus Christ sets you and me apart, offers us true relationship with Him, and changes who we are.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.1 Peter 2:9-10
This is the Gospel story. Thankfully our God recalls not our worthiness nor our contributions, but He looks at His Son. He looks at His hand outstretched, His own blood shed, His own holiness and offers us rescue.
God saw the people
God saw them. El Roi, the God who sees, never takes His eyes off of you and me. He looks at us, always knowing and always seeing. Over and over the Bible declares God’s watchfulness and care over His people. Genesis 16:13 declares, “You are a God of seeing.” Seeing my trouble, He cares. As a mother I fail to see alot of what my children do until it is too late, until the injury has happened, but God is not like me. He has never been unaware of what His children are doing. He never has to have explanations or summaries to catch Him up.
and God knew
God fully knows all of our suffering. Psalm 56:8 recounts, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” So our Father who gathers our tears in a bottle will surely care for each cause of those tears. He hears our prayers and sees our tears (2 Kings 20:5 & Psalm 18:6), and He draws near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed (Psalm 34:16). Lovingly He inclines his ear to us, hearing our cries for mercy (Psalm 116:1-2.) We are His treasure, highly valued and cared for (Matthew 10:30-31.) Furthermore He has given us the Holy Spirit who helps in our weaknesses when we don’t know what to pray or how to cry out. The Spirit intercedes for you and me with groanings before the Father according to His will (Romans 8:26-27). You are highly valued by the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God who created all things and set all things in motion. And He knows all of His plan for you: from redemption to final glory, He is fully engaged, fully in control, fully working for His glory and your ultimate good.
The beauty of the Gospel is that His knowledge walks hand in hand with His covenant redemption offered through Jesus Christ. He knew His plan for our spiritual rescue from the beginning of time, and He knows His plan for your rescue right here in the midst of the pain, confusion, worry, or doubt you may be experiencing today. You are His.