|Series Theme: Meditations in Lessons from Israel|
Meditation No. 3
Meditation Title: God for Us
Ex 3:7.8 The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt . I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey--the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
The Bible always gives a very accurate picture of mankind. One of the psalmists identified the folly and completely wrong thinking of mankind when he wrote, “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters.” (Psa 2:2,3) That was the same folly that Satan got Eve to take on board which was akin to the man in one of Jesus' parables who said of his master, “I knew that you are a hard man.” (Mt 25:24). The truth which contradicts these lies and misconceptions is seen in our verses above as the Lord explains to Moses what this encounter is all about.
Note what He says: “The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt . I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.” In this declaration the Lord speaks of three things about Himself – He has seen, heard and, as a result is concerned. Sometimes when tough times go on we think the Lord doesn't see what is happening – but He does; He sees everything and He hears everything. Yes, the Lord had seen and heard all that was happening to Israel in Egypt . So why hadn't He moved before? The answer has surely got to be because He was waiting for the right time to arrive when Israel would be ready to be led out of Egypt.
They had come to Egypt in Joseph's time and they had prospered there. They probably though it was a great place to be because they were doing so well, and thus they settled there. The only trouble was that it wasn't the place of God's choosing for their future, it wasn't the best place possible for them. No, He had, “a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey,” lined up for them, a place free from idol worship (of which there was a lot in Egypt ) and free from the domination of ungodly leaders (which there was in Egypt ). Even as their circumstances got harder they coped with it and we have an expression that fitted – ‘better the devil you know rather than the one you don't.' It is clear from their grumblings, even when they eventually left under miraculous circumstances, that they still had hankerings to be back there. Human sin expresses itself in a variety of ways, and the one that stands out most in this study is our ungratefulness or our inability to accept that God knows best and, even more, God wants the best for us!
But going back to our verses above, note that God doesn't look on dispassionately. He saw and heard what was going on and he was “concerned about their suffering.” God feels for His people. Again and again in the Gospels we see Jesus moved by compassion (e.g. Mt 9:36 , 14:14 , 15:32 , 20:34 ). He felt for people and what he felt moved him to act. God doesn't just stand watching dispassionately. He feels for us.
But it doesn't stop there. He doesn't just stand at a distance feeling bad about us; He comes and does something: “So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land.” The reason He has come to Moses using this burning bush to attract his attention, is because He has come to do something about the situation. Now in the next meditation we'll focus on how He does that so often, but for now we just want to focus on the point that He does come to help us because He is for us! This is the truth that the Bible testifies to again and again. When the apostle Paul says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31 ) it's a rhetorical question and he is basically saying, “Because God is for us, who can be against us?” Have you ever really taken that in? God IS for us! God is FOR us! God is for US! Everything about salvation says that God has delivered us from the bad old life and has delivered us into a new life of goodness and blessings.
In the same way, in today's verses, the Lord was speaking of delivering Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. He doesn't merely deliver us out of the bad and then leave us! No, He has got something much more wonderful to take us into. We often quote Paul saying, “he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son,” (Col 1:13) but let's emphasise here the fact that we have been taken out of one place (darkness under Satan's rule) and been placed into another place (the kingdom of the Son). In this new place we experience forgiveness, no condemnation, adoption as children of God, a new power source that brings us into the experience of knowing love, joy, peace, patience etc. etc. (Gal 5:22,23) And the world talks about being in fetters? Who has them in fetters? It is not God! He comes to deliver us from the fetters of Satan and Sin. Scream it from the housetops – God is for us!