Exodus 2:23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.
24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.
Throughout the Bible, God shows us the difference between His government and that of the ungodly. As we have already noted, God blessed the pagan nation of Egypt by giving them a godly man in Joseph. Joseph did not run for political office. He was simply a faithful servant of God and God raised him to the place of being second in command in Egypt. Joseph was not trained in secular government. He was trained by God to listen to His leading. He believed in God and He trusted in God. He gave wise counsel to the Pharaoh of his day and Egypt and the nations around her were blessed by Joseph’s wise counsel and his subsequent leadership.
The Bible tells us that God sets up kings and He removes them:
Daniel 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
God set up the king that lived after the death of Joseph. That king chose not to acknowledge the true God and now he died. A new king was set up in his place in Egypt. This king was not any better than the previous one. However, this king did not know of Moses and God was preparing the nation of Egypt to learn some important lessons about Him. Moses would be the man that God would choose to speak on behalf of Himself and on behalf of the nation of Israel.
We read in verse 23 that the children of Israel sighed because of the bondage they were under. God had allowed them to face some difficult times under the previous king. He was going to show His wonders in a very powerful way under this next king.
In verse 24 we read that God heard the groaning of the children of Israel. God is never far away. He wants to bless people. It is important for a person to know Him and to follow Him. It is also important to turn to the true God in the time of difficulties. It is important to trust Him in all things. We read also that God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God acts in righteousness because of His name’s sake. When God makes a promise He keeps that promise to demonstrate His power and His faithfulness. God cannot lie. He does not make promises He cannot keep. He does not forget His promises either.
The word “remembered” in our text does not mean that God forgot something and then all of a sudden remembered it. Rather it means that at the appropriate time according to His plan, He took the next step in His plan. He always knew where the Jews were. He knew all about the treatment they received from the king after Joseph’s death. He used everything that took place for His purposes and for His glory.
God is the same today. He uses everything for His purposes and for His glory. It is important to know Him and to trust Him in all things.
In verse 25 we read that God “looked” and He “had respect”. Those two words compliment each other and they help us to understand the word “remember” from the previous verse. God chose Abraham to be the father of a great nation. God’s design for Abraham and his descendants was that they should be a testimony of His goodness and His greatness. Abraham learned some important lessons during his lifetime. Isaac continued to carry the covenant of God that was first given to Abraham. Isaac also learned some important lessons regarding trusting God and being a blessing to others. Jacob was God’s choice of the two sons of Isaac to continue as the recipient of the blessing of that covenant. Again, God was teaching Jacob and his sons some important lessons in regard to the way to receive the blessings of the covenant He had made.
God never forgot His purposes. He did not allow the Pharaohs to inflict more of a burden upon the children of Israel than they could bear. Israel was the vessel God was going to use to show His power and blessing to the other nations. In the meantime, He was also giving the nations around them the opportunity to know Him and to choose to serve Him. Israel was often not a very willing vessel in God’s hands. However, God would continue to do His work through them, and in spite of them.
He knew what He was doing. The children of Israel did not know what God was doing. They could not understand why they were suffering at this time. God told Abraham that his descendants would be afflicted 400 years in a strange country:
Genesis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
God was giving other people an opportunity to turn to Him. Because they did not turn to Him, they built up God’s wrath against them. God holds man accountable for his choices. The ungodly can rebel all they want. They need to be reminded that there are consequences to going their own way. It is wise to listen to God and be saved and know His blessings rather than reject Him and know His wrath.
This is again why the true local church is so important. A true local church is not ashamed of the whole counsel of God. A true local church teaches the truth regardless of who is present. We had visitors again this past Sunday. We had never met these people before. We had a few moments before the service to visit with them and we knew a little bit about them. However, we did not know what they believed.
God gave me a message to preach that was designed for each person in attendance at our service and also for those who were listening via live-streaming. I know who the regulars are in our church, but I never know who else might be there. I do not need to know that. I need to listen to God and let Him guide me in the preparation of the message and then I need to be obedient to Him in preaching that message regardless of who comes to church.
He did not tell me what each person believed. I did not need to know that. All I needed to know is what He wanted me to say and I needed to be faithful in saying that. My words were not inspired. God’s Word is inspired. He was simply calling on me to take His Word and make correct application from His Word. His Word will be a blessing to each person who hears it. What that person does with His Word is the important part.
If I would have tried to be politically correct, I might have tried to gauge the thinking of those in attendance as the service moved along. I would have wasted their time and dishonoured God in doing that.
I do not know if we will ever meet them again because they are not from our area. God gave them the opportunity to sit in our service for this one time to learn some important truths from His Word. As Paul stated in I Cor.3:7:
I Corinthians 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Those who know the Lord need to be vessels He can use for His glory. He knows what He is doing and He is looking for willing vessels who will honour Him in their lives. That is what God wanted Israel to be during their years of affliction. He would do His work both in Egypt and in the land of Canaan. The Egyptians needed to know the power of God. They needed to know that their pagan gods were nothing. They needed to come to trust in the true God. The people in the land of Canaan also needed to know the true God. We know that when the Hebrews arrived in the land of Canaan that the works of God that He had done in Egypt were already known there. They neglected to heed the importance of those works. Israel would be directed by God to remove them from that land. God would also greatly humble the nation of Egypt through the various plagues He would send them.
Sadly, Israel failed to learn the lessons God had for them in all of this.
Let us today be those who know the true God and then be willing to learn the lessons He has for us. Let us also be willing to help others to come to know His peace and blessing in their lives.