“The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out,
and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.
God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with
Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.
So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”
Exodus 2:23-25 (NIV)
At the time of Exodus 2 the Hebrew people were in captivity to the Egyptians and were suffering greatly. For long years, even for generations, they were tormented without relief. Their prayers sometimes seemed to rise no higher than the roofs of their homes. Where was God when they needed Him? Had He abandoned them? Their pain was great, and no relief came or was coming as far as they knew.
Over millennia the Hebrew people have suffered much at the hands of gentiles. During the Holocaust, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel verified a story told about Jews in Auschwitz who put God on trial (Wiesel said he witnessed the trial). God was found guilty of abandoning His people. Then the men prayed. We recognize the wisdom of the men for praying even when they thought the Lord had abandoned them.
Our text for today speaks of four actions on the Lord’s part when His people suffered. 1. The Lord “heard”, 2. The Lord “remembered”, 3. The Lord, “looked”, and 4. The Lord “was concerned”.
First, we are taught in Scripture that our prayers are heard by the Lord. We may pray alone but we are not alone. The One to whom we pray is by our side whether we sense His presence or not. This is what encourages us to continue praying in the toughest of times.
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)