Do you ever feel like God isn’t listening to you, even though you are constantly crying out to Him to do something about the circumstances of your life?
The children of Israel must have had moments when they felt like God had forgotten them. The 70 members of Joseph’s family that he brought to live with him in Egypt had multiplied into a nation of people. Four hundred years had passed, and they now were slaves in a foreign land. Hope in the promises given to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were a dim memory kept alive by the elderly, but likely doubted by the younger generations.
When things looked the most desperate, God began to fulfill His promises. He started by calling the Hebrew midwives to disobey Pharaoh’s command to kill the baby boys (an early version of population control). This saved Moses’ life, the baby hidden in a basket, rescued by an Egyptian princess and raised in Pharaoh’s household. Moses had the passion to help his people, but not the spiritual maturity needed, so God sent him into the wilderness to hone his shepherding skills and humble his heart.
It’s at this point we read a verse that reminds us that God is never “not listening.” When things looked the darkest, God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them (Exodus 2:24-25).
The Hebrew definitions of these important words: heard, remembered, saw, and took notice, show us that God was not simply casually invested in their pain and distress.
God heard their groaning; meaning to hear with attention or interest; to listen.
God remembered His covenant, meaning to call to mind. He had not forgotten; it was simply now time to act on it.
God saw them, meaning to look upon, inspect, consider, perceive, observe, watch, give attention to, discern. This was not a casual glance.
God took notice, also translated had respect unto. The Hebrew word is actually yada (to know by experience). God felt their pain; He was invested in the outcome because He knew exactly what they were thinking, feeling, and experiencing. He knew where they were in their cycle of belief, doubt, and uncertainty.
Don’t mistake God’s perceived “inactivity” for an inability to act. God’s timing is perfect, as we will see as the story of Exodus unfolds. God always hears us when we cry out to Him. He has not forgotten His promises (nor His prophecies!). He sees what is happening in our world and is giving it His full attention. He knows right where we are. His plan will prevail, and we will get to the Promised Land.