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Journeyto Freedom.

PART V

Introduction
Weregoingtobecontinuingwithour JourneytoFreedom seriesthismorningaswe
make ourwaythroughthebookofExodusintheOldTestament.

Thismorning we're goingto continuetogetherwithPart 5 inour JourneytoFreedom:

InthispassagewearegiventhefirstmentionofGodinthebookofExodus.Were
goingtoseeanamazingtransitioninthewaypeoplerelatetoandunderstandGodas
wecontinuethisjourney.ThispassageshowstheIsraelitescrying outtoaGodthey
dontreallyknow,someonetheyknowisfaithfulandwhomtheirancestors
worshipped,butaGodwhomtheyhavehadnopersonalexperienceof.

TodayweregoingtoseeaninterestingpatterninthewayinwhichGodinteractswith
usconcerningthefulfilmentofHispromisesandinregardstoprayer.

PleaseturninyourtravelguidestoExodus2:2325aswecontinueour Journeyto
Freedom

Scripture Exodus 2:2325


NIV
Exodus2:23 Duringthatlongperiod,thekingofEgyptdied.TheIsraelitesgroaned
intheirslaveryandcriedout,andtheircryforhelpbecauseoftheirslaverywentupto
God.24 GodheardtheirgroaningandherememberedhiscovenantwithAbraham,
withIsaacandwithJacob.25 SoGodlookedontheIsraelitesandwas concernedabout
them.

Overview
Therearethreesignificantdevelopmentsinthispassageforusregardingthewayin
whichweunderstandthenatureandprocessofGodandhowwefitintoHisplans.

ThefirstthingwecanseeisthattheIsraeliteschose toputtheirfaithandhopeand
trustinGod.Theydidthis,firstly,byrecognisingthatHewastheonlyOnetheycould
turnto,andsecondly,byactuallytransferringthisbeliefintofaith through doing
somethingaboutitandcryingouttoGod.
TheresadistinctionthatmustbemadeaboutbelievingorunderstandingthatGodis
theOnewhocansaveandactuallyputtingthatbeliefintopractice.Wecancallthis
faith.

ThesecondsignificantdevelopmentthatwecanobservefromthispassageisthatGod
heardandHeacted, however,itisimportanttonotethatGoddidntbegintoactuntil
theIsraeliteshadfirstturnedtoHimandinvitedHisintervention.

ThethirdsignificantdevelopmenthastodowiththechangingnatureofGods
interactionwithhumans.InthispassagetheHebrewwordwehavetranslatedhereas
GodisthewordElohimwhichliterallymeansadivinebeing.Aswejourney
throughExoduswewillseeGodrevealHispersonalNametotheIsraelites andso
ExodusisabookwhichistheaccountofGodmakingHimselfknowable.

LetsbeginwiththeresponseoftheIsraelites

CryingOut
NIV
Exodus2:23 Duringthatlongperiod,thekingofEgyptdied.TheIsraelitesgroaned
intheirslaveryandcriedout,andtheircryforhelpbecause oftheirslaverywentupto
God.

Therearethreeelementstotheirresponse:

i) theygroaned
ii) theycriedout
iii) they[cried]forhelp

GROANED

Thisword,groanedistranslatedassighedinsomeBibles. Gaspisanotherwayin
whichitcouldbetranslated. Itisapainfullyintensewordandisthesamewordused
inEzekieltodescribethepainofhavingbrokenarms.
NIV
Ezekiel30:24 IwillstrengthenthearmsofthekingofBabylonandputmyswordin
hishand,butIwillbreakthearmsofPharaoh,andhewillgroanbeforehimlikea
mortallywoundedman.

Im sure manyofushavebeeninaplacewhereweregroaningorsighing;where
thingsarepainfulandhorrible thesituationunbearable. Thethingis,oftentimesthis
isasfarasweget.It doesntseemasifitisanaturalresponseforsomeofustogo
beyondhereandwedevelopagrinandbearitattitude.

Nothingisgoingtochangeunlesssomethingfurtherisdone;unlessthereisanother
expressionwhichinviteschange.
CRIEDOUT

TheIsraelitesgroaned,forsure,butthesituationwassuchthattheyalsocriedout.

Inasense,groaningispassive,butcryingoutisactive.Thephrasecouldmeanto
complainortoshoutoutoreventocalloutarallycry. Itsanexpressionimplyingthat
theycametogetherinunitytocalloutinresponsetothesituation.

Cryingoutisanactiveresponseintendedbothtobringattentiontothecauseandalso
toseethesituationchanged.

Eventhis,though,issomethingImsuremanyofushavedone;cryingouttoGod
protestingaboutasituationorcircumstance.Broughttoapointwherethepainor
frustrationormadnessofasituationhasleftusnoothercoursebuttocryouttoGod.

Eventhis,however,isnottheendofthematter.

CRYFORHELP

Cryingoutdoesntnecessarilychangethesituation.WecanseethattheIsraelitescry
toGodwasdeliberateanddirectedandspecific.

Itwasntjustacry; itwasacry forhelp.

Yousee,wecangroanandcomplainandevencryouttoGod.Butthereisadistinction
thatmustbemadebetweencryingoutoffrustrationofangstandcryingoutforhelp.

Yousee,cryingouttoGodforhelpactuallymeanssomething.

CryingouttoGodmeansthatwebelievetheresaGodandthatHeismightytosave.
Cryingout forhelp meansthatwehavefaiththatHe can and wantsto and will help.It
saysthatwebelieveGodwillhelp.

TheIsraelites,intheircryingouttoGodforhelp,demonstratethattheyhave
confidenceinthepromisesandplansandpurposesorGodandthattheyrecognise
thatHeisintimatelyconcernedwiththem.

GodsResponse
ThisbeliefinGods attentiontoIsraelissomethingwhichisreiteratedinthewayin
whichthisfinalpassageiswritten.

TheNIVbibleisadynamictranslationwhichmeansithasbeentranslatedto
accuratelyconveythe intention oftheoriginalauthors thisisbecausetranslating
thingsliterallyhaveissuessuchasthedifferencesinexpressionamongdifferentand,
especiallyancientlanguages.
Whatthissometimesmeans,though,isthatrepetitivelanguageiscondensedtomake
itmorereadableandtomakemoresensefollowingtherulesofEnglishgrammar.

BiblessuchastheKingJamesortheNewAmericanStandardaremoreliteral
translationswhichmakethem hardertoreadandsometimesleadstoerrorsin
translation,especiallyintheKingJames,however sometimestheyrevealsome
fascinatingthingsaboutwhattheoriginalauthorsweretryingtoconvey.

Likeinthispassage:

TheNIVtranslatesit:
NIV
Exodus2:24 Godheardtheirgroaningandherememberedhiscovenantwith
Abraham,withIsaacandwithJacob.25 SoGodlookedontheIsraelitesandwas
concernedaboutthem.

Thisreadseasilyandisanaccuratetranslation,however,theoriginalHebrewtext
actuallyreads:

~yhil{a/ rKoz>YIw: ~t'_q'a]n:ta, ~yhil{a/ [m;v.YIw: Exodus2:24


WTT

ar.Y:w: `bqo)[]y:ta,(w> qx'c.yIta, ~h'r"b.a;ta, AtyrIB.ta,


25

/ [d:YEw: lae_r"f.yI ynEB.ta, ~yhil{a/


WhichIcannotunderstand,soweturntotheNewAmericanStandard:
NAS
Exodus2:24 SoGodheardtheirgroaning;andGodrememberedHiscovenantwith
Abraham,Isaac,andJacob.25 AndGodsawthesonsofIsrael,andGodtooknotice of
them.

NoticethefourfoldrepetitionofGodinthispassage?It doesntchangethemeaning
atall,butitsespeciallysignificantinthatfornearlytwochaptershardlyanythinghas
beenmentionedatallaboutGod andhere,inthespaceoftwosentences,Godis
mentionedfourtimes.

WhatthisconveystousistheunderstandingthatGodwasintimatelyacquaintedand
involvedinthe situationtheIsraeliteswerefacing. Imentionedthisbrieflyearlier,but
herewhereweseeGoditistheHebrewwordElohimwhichsimplymeansGodor
divinebeing. ThiswashowtheIsraelitesrelatedtoGod therewasnotyetany
specialconnectionwithHimoranyrealunderstandingofwhatHeislikeorhowto
interactwithHim.

WeregoingtoseeinthecomingweekshowGodrevealsHimselftousandmakes
Himselfknowableand expressesadesiretointeractwithuspersonally.
Thatwasreallyalittledigression,themainthingIdliketoexploreinthissecondhalf
ofthepassageishowGodrespondstothecryforhelpoftheIsraelites.
NIV
Exodus2:24 Godheardtheirgroaningandherememberedhiscovenantwith
Abraham,withIsaacandwithJacob.25 SoGodlookedontheIsraelitesandwas
concernedaboutthem.

TherearefourthingsGodisdescribedasdoinginresponsetotheIsraelitescryfor
help:

i) God heard theircry


ii) God remembered Hispromise
iii) God looked uponthem
iv) Godwas concerned aboutthem

Thisissomethingwhichneedsabitofexploringtounderstandthetrueresponseof
Godasthesewordsdontreallyseemallthatexciting!

TheIsraelitescriedoutandGodheardthem andHerememberedthatHedpromised
tolookafterthemandprotectthem.Doesntthisseemalittlebitodd?

DoesthismeanthatsometimesGodcanthearus?Doesitmeanthatforacoupleof
hundredyearsGodhadforgottenaboutHispromise?Thatdoesntreflectthenature
ofGodthattherestoftheBiblereveals.

TheverbsheardandrememberedformthefirstpartofthisstanzaandinHebrew
areusedinthecontextofactiveresponse. Tohearmeanstorespondtowhatwas
heard.Toremembermeanstoactonthebasisofwhatwasremembered.Whenwere
talkingaboutGod,ofcourse,GodneverforgotHispromise,whatthisdescribesis
actuallysomethingwhichisinitiatedfromtheIsraelitesratherthanfromGod.

WeveseenhowtheIsraelitescriedouttoGodforhelp whywouldtheydothis
unlesstheybelievedthatthesituationwasnotsomethingGoddesiredforthem?By
cryingoutforGodtohelptheyareinvitingHimtointerveneandtochangethe
presentcircumstancesbecauseofanunderstandingthatwhateverishappeningisnot
theexperiencethatGodhaspromisedthemorhasdesiredforthem.

ItistheinvocationofapromisemadebyGodandhungontobytheIsraelitesthatHe
wouldbetheirGodandprotectthemandblessthemandgivethemalandoftheir
own.

WhenGodremembereditmeansthatHerespondedtothefaithoftheIsraeliteswho
recognisedthattheywerentlivinginorexperiencingwhatGodwantedforthemor
hadpromisedtothemandsotheyhadchosento act onthis faithandinviteGodto
changethesituationandtodeliveronHispromise.
WhenGodhears andremembersitmeansHeresponds,Heacts,Hemoves.

Likewise,wereadthatGodlookedontheIsraelitesandwasconcernedabout
them. SomeBiblessay thatGodtooknoticeofthem. Thisrevealsanotheramazing
thingaboutGod HewasntignorantoftheplightofHispeople,Hewasintimately
acquaintedwiththeirsituationandwasmovedbytheirplight Hewasconcerned
andactedoutofloveandcompassionforthem.

CatalystforResponse
Aswe drawto closeIwanttobacktrackforamomentandexaminethereasonGod
acted.
NIV
Exodus2:24a Godheardtheirgroaning

GodactedbecauseHeheardthepeoplecryout.Thiswordgroaningisdifferentto
thefirstusagewhereitmeanttocryoutinpain.Thisisamoregeneralwordwhich
sumsupthetotalresponseoftheIsraelites.

WhydidGodact?

BecausetheIsraelitescriedout; becausethey reachedout toGodforhelpHe


responded.

ItwasSt.Augustinewho,writingaround400yearsafterJesus, famouslysaid:

WithoutGodwecannot;withoutusGodwillnot.

ThisraisesanextremelyimportantaspectofhowweinteractwithGod.Itisclearthat
althoughGodcananddoesactwithoutusincertainsituations,thereisaclearpattern
demonstratingHisdesireforHisplansandpurposestobeoutworked with us,in co
operation withus, through usand involving us.

WeseeaconsistentpatterninScriptureofGodactingin response tothecriesor


prayersofpeople.
NIV
1Chronicles5:20 Theywerehelpedinfightingthem,andGodhandedtheHagrites
andalltheiralliesovertothem,becausetheycriedouttohimduringthebattle.He
answeredtheirprayers,becausetheytrustedinhim.
NIV
Nehemiah9:27 Soyouhandedthemovertotheirenemies,whooppressedthem.
Butwhentheywereoppressedtheycriedouttoyou.Fromheavenyouheardthem,
andinyourgreatcompassionyougavethemdeliverers,whorescuedthemfromthe
handoftheirenemies.
NIV
Matthew14:30 Butwhenhesawthewind,hewasafraidand,beginningtosink,
criedout,"Lord,saveme!"31 ImmediatelyJesusreachedouthishandandcaughthim.
"Youoflittlefaith,"hesaid,"whydidyoudoubt?"

TherealityofthisprincipalinpracticeisseeninMatthew:
NIV
Matthew6:6 Butwhenyoupray,gointoyourroom,closethedoorandpraytoyour
Father,whoisunseen.ThenyourFather,whoseeswhatisdoneinsecret,willreward
you.7 Andwhenyoupray,donotkeeponbabblinglikepagans,fortheythinkthey
willbeheardbecauseoftheirmanywords.8 Donotbelikethem,foryourFather
knowswhatyouneedbeforeyouaskhim.

JesusgoesontoteachHisdisciplesthewaytoprayandapproachGodthroughthe
LordsPrayer. OntheonehandHesaysthatGodalreadyknowswhatwewantorneed
beforeweask,andthenimmediatelyfollowingthisJesusteaches ushowtopray,how
toaskGodforwhatweneed.

ThecatalystforGodtoactandtorespondisforustocryouttoHiminprayer.

This hasincredibleimplicationonthewayweliveourlivesandourattitudetowards
thesituationsandcircumstancesthatwefindourselvesin.Itcanbeverytemptingto
onlycalonGodorpraywhenwefeelthesituationisbigenoughandweneedto
bring intheheavies.Ortojusthunkerdownandtrytogetthroughuntilthingsget
desperate.

TheBiblemakesitveryclearthatGodisintimatelyacquaintedwitheverylittledetail
andisconcernedaboutwhatgoesoninourlivesandisjustwaitingforus tocryout
forhelp.

WhatwehavehereinExodusistherevelationthatGodsresponseisactive whenwe
cryouttoHimHeacts.Now,thismaynotalwaysbeinthewayweexpect,butGodwill
respondaccordingtoHisgoodpurposeandwithourbestinterestsinmind.

Iwaschattingwithsomeonetheotherdayandtheycommentedthatitwasfunny
howsometimeswhenweprayaboutasituationGoddoesntchangethesituationbut
changesourheartorourperspective.

Conclusion
Godrespondstoourcriesforhelp itdoesnthavetobeamajorsituation,Godis
interestedanddesirestobeinvolvedineveryfacetofourlives.CryingouttoHim
invitesHisintervention,itinvitesHimtodemonstrateHischaracterinwhateverwere
facing,itdemonstratedfaiththatwebelieveinthepromisesHehasmadeusand
weregoingtohangontothem.

DontforgettocryouttoGod.Dontleaveittillthingsgetcrazy.InvolveGodtoday.