Where is God When I Want Him?
by Elaine Pierce
If we read these two verses without any context, they can seem to create a picture of a God who is distant and aloof, who only responds to us when we yell at him: "God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham..." He remembered? He had forgotten? Was he busy with other, more important, things? I don't think so.
God made a covenant with Abraham that he would bless him and his descendants. He makes this covenant in Genesis 11, and he affirms his promise over and over to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And how do God's people respond? Just like we do. They turn their backs on God over and over and over. But God's promises don't depend on our obedience - if they did, we would be out of luck.
You will remember Joseph became a trusted advisor to the King of Egypt, and he brought freedom and prosperity to the Jews who lived in Egypt. But he died, several generations passed, and the book of Exodus tells us that "a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt." (Ex. 1:8) This king once again enslaved the Israelites, and again the chosen people were living under tyranny, oppressed and without hope.
God is always at work. He heard his peoples' cry for help, and he raised up a most unlikely leader, Moses. We spend several weeks digging into the book of Exodus, discovering how God works in the midst of people who grumble, complain and fail to obey. Yes, people just like you and me. Moses and his people lived thousands of years ago but there are lessons and truths for us that transcend time. God is always listening, always ready to love and care for us. Thanks be to God!
I may not be enslaved like the Israelites, but I often complain and grumble when I don't think I am getting what I deserve. Thanks be to God that you love me despite my sin. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness, and help me call on you in times of joy, in times of peace, and yes, in times of sorrow. You will always listen and you will always be there. Amen.