Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What God Saw and Heard and Felt - Exodus 3:7


And the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.”

Dr. Charles Price, in introducing some teaching on the prophet Isaiah, commented about the ‘old covenant’ that God had with His people Israel and how it was made international in nature when He established the ‘new covenant’ through His Son, Jesus.  And since God is constant, much of what we read about (with the exception of some actual specific events that applied to Jerusalem and the country of Israel or Judah physically) could well be taken to apply to us today.[1]  That came to mind as I read this verse.

I thought of all that the world and in particular, God’s people today, Christians, were going through.  I thought of wars where innocent Christians were being killed and of enslavement or persecution of Christians by those who hate Christ and what He stands for.  I thought of the crippling power of illnesses, disease, drugs, and broken marriages and families.  I thought of people being mentally taken advantage of by false doctrine, commercialism, and the like.  I thought of lives being ruined by sexual, physical, mental, and/or social abusers.  I thought of the lies of the Enemy that were devastating lives.  I thought of dictatorship or the movement towards it as well as the goal of Islam to take over the world.  And I applied this verse and God’s words to all of that, and to us today.

God says He does “surely see” the affliction of His people.  God is fully aware of everything that is going on here on earth – in your house, in your city, in your country, and in our world in general, especially where His people reside.  It is as clear to Him as was the suffering of the Israelites in Egypt.  And in fact, with all that is going on in Egypt today and the persecution of Christians and others there, we can safely say that both the old and new covenant members of “His people” in Egypt today are under His watchful eyes.  What a comfort we can take in that.

God has seen our suffering, but He also hears our “cry” if indeed we are “crying out to Him”.  You may well ask, “Doesn’t He know what is going on without us having to cry out to Him? I mean, He’s God, isn’t He?”  Yes, of course, He does and He is.  We already know that He sees our affliction.  But He can’t hear a cry that doesn’t exist.  We were created to be dependent on God and to be in fellowship with Him.  We were intended to be not only His people, but also His friends.  Can you imagine a marriage where the wife is struggling with something physically (like pulling the fridge out to clean behind it)?  Her husband is nearby reading (or watching television) and he hears her groans as she tries to pull the fridge out.  Yes, he can get up and help.  But he’s also careful not to interfere in something he may know she has wanted to handle by herself in the past, and so he’s reluctant to do so.  (Those of you who are husbands can probably identify with this.)  However, when he hears his beloved wife say, “Honey, can you give me a hand with this; I’m really finding it tough this time.  I must be getting older.  I need you” he smiles, says nothing, and jumps up to help.  His wife has shown her need of him and he’s only too willing to join forces with her.  That’s how it is with God.

Our verse under consideration here also speaks of His people’s “cry” being a result of their sufferings under their ‘taskmasters’.  Who are your taskmasters today?  Is it an abusive spouse, employer, church leader, or even a politician running your country?  Is it something other than a person – is it television, or sex, or the love of money?  Is it social media? (I can best identify with that latter one and have to set limits for myself; I have to find ways to stop trying to respond to all the posts I receive or to try to answer everybody’s questions.)  Is it a cult you are slowly getting involved with or one you’re already in too deep with?  Who or what is your taskmaster?  Is there more than one?

We need to take some time on our own to answer these questions and then cry out for help to God asking to be “released from our own taskmasters”.  My prayer is that you will have the willingness and courage to do so.  And then to do whatever you know you have to in order to stay free.


[1] Sermon preached at The Peoples Church, Toronto, September 23, 2012.

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