In the book of Exodus, the children of Israel were in bondage to the Egyptians. Pharaoh added to the back-breaking labor a mandate that new born Israeli males were to be killed. The open-armed welcome Jacob and his sons received when they immigrated 400 years before was a distant memory and the children of Israel took the one course of action open to them:
“…And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.” Exodus 2:23 (NASB)
Does that prayer stuff really work? Does God hear us? Does He take action when we ask His help?
“So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.” Exodus 2:24-25 (NASB)
God sent Moses to Pharaoh with a simple message, “Let my people go!” The plan was a three day excursion into the wilderness to worship. Pharaoh decided if Israel could demand a vacation they weren’t working hard enough and he added to their load.
Moses gave Israel assurance that God had the situation under control and shared specific promises in Exodus 6:6-8:
- I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians
- I will deliver you from their bondage
- I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments
- I will take you for My people
- I will be your God
- I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
- I will give it to you for a possession
And God placed His official seal of certainty on the list: “I am the LORD.”
How did Israel respond?
“So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.” Exodus 6:9 (NASB)
We can focus on our difficulties, bog down in our moments of suffering, and lose the big picture. We can forget the “I wills” God posted in His word. We can turn our backs on His message of encouragement.
Listening is a choice I have to make for myself.