The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out . . . to God. God heard their groaning and . . . was concerned about them.
— Exodus 2:23-25
The Israelites were the Old Testament people of God, chosen to become a nation through whom God would bless all other peoples (see Genesis 12:1-3). But, as we can see in the opening chapters of Exodus, God’s chosen people were in a bad way. The people of Israel had become slaves in Egypt. And in this way, they were not able to be the blessing to others that God had promised.
The king of Egypt feared the Israelites because their numbers were a potential threat to his domain. So he made life unbearable for them until the people cried out in their slavery and suffering. Some of the deepest weeping happened because many baby boys were murdered. What trauma and hopelessness!
But finally, after seeming to be absent for a long time, God heard the people’s groaning and acted to bring them freedom. It wouldn’t be easy or quick, but it would be decisive and provide rescue for God’s suffering people.
And isn’t it startling, as we find in the next chapter, that while God was moved to help the oppressed, his first move was to call a human being, Moses, to be the agent of his liberating power?
Dear God, see and hear the groaning of people who suffer everywhere in this world. Be concerned, righteous God, and move us to be faithful to your call to act in your name. Amen!