“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 2:23-24
The descendants of Jacob had settled in Egypt thanks to the generosity of their brother Joseph—the right hand to Pharaoh of Egypt—to seek relief from the famine that had swept the land. They flourished and grew into the great nation of Israel. When the King of Egypt died, his successor feared Israel so he enslaved them and they suffered.
So Israel cried out for help.
God’s response to them is surprising, given their family’s colorful past:
Jacob had 12 sons. Joseph, the second youngest, was particularly beloved by Jacob; the 10 older sons were not amused. So they threw Joseph in a well, left him for dead, then, feeling guilty, sold him into slavery and told their father that Joseph was killed by a wild animal.
Jacob deceived his father and stole the birthright away from his older brother, Esau. Jacob’s own parents, Isaac and Rebekah, played favorites with their twin sons.
Isaac was the son God had promised to his father Abraham, but Abraham did not wait for God to fulfill His promise to him and his wife Sarah. Instead, they found a younger woman to get the child they so desperately wanted.
Israel’s lineage of unbelief goes back further still, and extends through history, yet when they cry out to God, God hears their pleas. He remembers His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God sees the suffering of this people, and then, Scripture says, God knew.
God heard them. God remembered them. God saw them. God knew them.
This brief vignette in the book of Exodus reveals the great paradox of the Christian faith. The fathers of Israel sewed a mix bag of obedience and unfaithfulness, and yet reaped deliverance.
You and I fail to meet our own standards, let alone God’s, but somehow in Christ we are invited to enjoy the immeasurable greatness of His power. How is this even possible?
For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6)
Your rescue is made possible by God’s great unchanging Love for you through Christ. God longs to be gracious towards you (Isaiah 30:18).
Whether you feel enslaved by sin, have been faithful and wrongfully accused, or you have acted in disobedience and are struggling with painful consequences—cry out to God.
He is unchanging in His love for you, ready to rescue.
God hears you. God remembers you. God see you. God knows you.