Do you ever wonder about the heart of God? I mean, do you ever wonder sometimes if God really feels and sees and knows your suffering and circumstances that pain you? When we are in the midst of pain and suffering, and God doesn’t seem to be doing anything to intervene or alleviate our situation, it is our human tendency to question God’s care for us. We have all likely been there: the tears cease to flow, the pain consumes us, the darkness remains thick and unpenetrable. In these times when God seems absent and silent to our cries for deliverance, I am reminded of God’s call to Moses to deliver the Israelites out of slavery.
In Exodus chapter 3 Moses encounters God at a burning bush, where God tells Moses that He is sending him to deliver His people out of slavery in Egypt. In verses 7-9 we read:
7 Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.
There are some essential truths to recognize in this story. First, God saw the people of Israel. God’s eyes and attention are fixed upon His people. God saw them in the agony of their slavery and suffering. His eyes are fixed upon Israel to show Himself strong and powerful, and to show Himself a God in their behalf.
Second, God heard Israel’s groaning. God gave His merciful ear to Israel and listened to them. He mercifully turned His attention to Israel in spite of their unfaithfulness throughout many generations. He heard the Israelites, but not merely as someone hears a sound and takes no notice of it. It was much more than this, for time stood still as the God of heaven listened to the sighs and groans and cries of His people.
Third, God knew. Other Bible translations read that God “took notice of them” (NASB), “was concerned about them” (NIV) and “acknowledged them” (NKJV). God takes special notice of Israel’s suffering situation. The language of Exodus 3:7 tells us that God knew intimately the suffering of His people: “Then the Lord said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings.’”
God knew all about Israel’s situation and He cared deeply about the way they were being treated. But the fact that God knew the sufferings of the Israelites was not merely a general understanding of a situation. Rather, it included involvement. Through the life of Moses, God’s plan and promise to deliver the Israelites from slavery to freedom would unfold.
In the same way God sees and hears and knows our suffering. In Psalm 31:7 we read, “I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul.” And in Psalm 18:6 we read, “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.”
May these truths and promises from God’s Word comfort and encourage you as you persevere through the pain and tears and trials of life. Know with certainty that God loves you deeply and cares about your suffering!
In God’s divine love,
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THROUGH THE BIBLE