Day 3

Israel Oppressed in Egypt

Exodus 1:1-22, Exodus 2:1-25, Genesis 35:11-12, Matthew 2:13-23

I help people with social media for a living, so part of my job is being aware of the cultural trends and themes that come and go on the internet, specifically on social media platforms. In both December 2016 and December 2017, one trend was difficult to miss, no matter your social media platform preference.

At the end of 2016 and 2017, it was trendy to lament the last year as if the last year was the worst year any of us had ever seen—no matter the personal experiences we had. All the cool kids did it. Along with this trendy lamenting, there was hope that the next year would bring some sort of reprieve. The collective groaning of people online longed for salvation in the turning of a page on the calendar. Perhaps the next year would be less oppressive.

When the Israelites were in captivity in Egypt, they groaned under the weight of the slavery and oppression they were forced to endure. They had nowhere to turn. There was no escape from their life of bondage and suffering—no hope of pushing back against the injustices they experienced at the hands of the Egyptian people. So they lamented. “The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor; and they cried out; and their cry for help because of the difficult labor ascended to God” (Exodus 2:23).

The Hebrews cried out to God because they knew they had no possible means of salvation among themselves. God’s people were aware of the promises He’d made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and they wondered how their present circumstances could have any role to play in the fulfillment of God’s covenant.

The Israelites cries for help did not fall on deaf ears. “God heard their groaning; and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob; and God saw the Israelites; and God knew” (vv. 24-25).

God eventually led the people out of Egypt by His servant Moses, and in Christ, He leads us out of sin and death and into the promised land of eternal life in His presence. The season of Lent reminds us that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the establishment of God’s new covenant with His people, His Church.

Yet, though we have been saved, we suffer. We lament. We groan.

And God hears our lamenting. God hears our groaning. God knows.

But our groaning must not seek salvation in a new year, a fresh relationship, or a job promotion. Our groaning must find its hope in the promises of God alone—fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Son.

Written by Chris Martin

Post Comments (6)

6 thoughts on "Israel Oppressed in Egypt"

  1. Kyle says:

    “Our groaning must not seek salvation in a new year, a fresh relationship, or a job promotion. Our groaning must find its hope in the promises of God alone.” A good reminder for me, as Lent begins. I’ve put a lot of pressure on the event of Lent itself to be what I need right now to spiritually recharge. Focusing on things I’m giving up for the season, rather than looking at it as a time to rest and focus on the promises of God.

  2. RD Cogswell says:

    It is comforting to know that God is a God who listens! He hears our voice. He knows what we need before it is on our tongue but still he listens!

  3. Benjamin Jaeger says:

    • Isn’t so wonderful that the God of the universe hears us?! •

    We groan about our worldly sufferings, just as the Hebrews did in Egypt. But – by knowing their story we should have hope that our suffering and waiting for salvation is part of God’s ultimate plan to bring us into His glory and love that endures forever.

    God hears us! – So let us rejoice amidst our suffering and look forward to the glories in store for us.

  4. Kyle Epp says:

    It’s interesting, that our groaning isn’t condemned by God, rather He hears our groaning and responds. The miracle of Christ in us, God with us, is that our hope is designed to be found within the promises that hold our heart – NOT, in our external circumstances.

    Lord have mercy on me. I’ve been looking for salvation, and the hope of salvation in a new job, and a new relationship! Please remind me of what it means to have hope in the promises that you’ve spoken to me, rather than in the changing circumstances around me. Amen!

  5. Eric says:

    Wow , so glad for these devotionals. I have recently been doing a lot of groaning and seek Salvation in others and the start of a new relationship. It’s why I bought this book. Really helpful.

  6. Rich says:

    Suffering does not mean God has forgotten us or that he has abandoned us; there is meaning and mission in his plan.

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