Why is it that parents tend to see just about everything their toddlers and children do? Do they have eyes behind their heads? Our children thought Jenny did! It was always … “Mommy, how do you know?” It’s not that mommy or daddy sees everything … rather it’s because they are older and wiser and are able to put 2 and 2 together! God is certainly older and wiser than we are … and He is able to see everything all the time. He is Omniscient! Look at how our reading starts today … I have indeed seen. Just because God does not respond immediately to things like Mr. Putin’s wicked campaign against the Ukraine or the extreme forces of violence in Africa or the man abusing his wife, daughter or small children or the gangsters plaguing certain part of our country (and some of them wear white collars) … it does not mean these things are blocked out from God’s vision. He sees everything all the time … and He saw Israel being persecuted by the Egyptian regime. But there is more … He not only sees, He knows everything all the time.
Ac 7:34 “‘I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.'”
1) God was not building a nation for nothing. He is a God who can be held to His Word … and His Word was that He had made a promise to Abraham as the faithful God.
Ge 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
In no way could He not rescue His people from the tyrannical oppressive forces. This is Moses’ own words … and notice that Stephen uses the words “seen, heard and oppression [for oppressing]”:
Ex 3:7 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. 8 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. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.”
(1) God clearly saw, heard and knew everything that the Hebrew people were experiencing. Their hardship, pain and agony … look at the words … “misery, crying, suffering” as well as “slave drivers and oppressing”. Apart from the Nazi Genocide, those in Africa and the brutality of trying to annihilate Christianity in China (Read “I survived a communist slaughter” by Johnny Lea), this inhumane treatment of a nation by the Egyptian Regime must rank amongst the worst ever … and Israel had done nothing to deserve this treatment.
(2) God come to rescue His people. “Have come down” refers to the Theophany at the burning bush. God always comes to the aid of His people. His way of providing salvation might not be the way we might want, but He aids us in our need. In Israel’s case it prefigured Jesus’ salvific work. Moses would lead the people out of Egypt and away from the enemy … Jesus leads His people out of sin, away from the enemy and this world into holiness and the world to come. Look at how and what God is going to do … bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
(3) Praying in earnest never escapes the ears of God. Israel cried to Him in their suffering. This is how God wants us to seek Him. Why is it that our prayers are so frivolous, weak and halfhearted? Is it because we do not want God’s heap in our need that we do not really labor before His Throne in earnest, passionate, pleading?
(4) You’re the man. Stephen says that God had said … Now come, I will send you back to Egypt. Moses says in Exodus that God said … So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land. God is saying that He had come down to appoint Moses to return to Egypt to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
2) God’s appointed leader is the very one the Israelites did not want!
Ac 7:35 “This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.”
You will recall the Israelite who was being abused asked Moses when he came to help restore peace between the two fighting Hebrews … “Who made you ruler and judge?” He did not want Moses as leader and in saying this he was speaking for the whole nation! Often congregations don’t want the man God sends them as pastor. Perhaps they don’t like his cut or the way he expounds the Bible or his accuracy in implementing Gospel principles. Church members need to know that when they reject God’s appointed pastor, they are rejecting God because that man is God’s gift to them. 3) Stephen skips over much of the trials Moses and his brother Aaron faced with Pharaoh and his advisors, including the plagues and the drama that ensued until Pharaoh buckled and relented at the death of all the first born males in the Egyptian homes as well as their cattle. Please read Exodus 12 … here are a few extracts:
Ex 12:7 “Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs”
Ex 12:12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt”
Ex 12:29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead 31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. 32 Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”
This is where the Jewish Passover comes from and reminds us of how at the Cross Jesus shed His Blood and passed over the Old Covenant and established the New Covenant in His Blood for our salvation.
Glorious Caring God, Your ways are not our ways yet we rejoice in our being saved from the enemy for Jesus. Amen.