Spiritual Formation

4 Promises to Hold on to During Prolonged Seasons of Adversity

February 28, 2017

It had been forty years since Moses left the privileged position in Egypt’s palace. Tending his father-in-law’s sheep in Midian was a far cry from the aristocratic courts of Pharaoh. But as divine providence would have it, this was the lot of the fallen prince. This is where life had taken him. But, on an ordinary and extraordinary day, God spoke.  The bush burned, Moses turned. God was concerned.

And from this, you and I can learn.

Hear the heartbeat of holy God as His glorious words blaze from the flaming fire:

“And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. (Exodus 3:7-8)

In essence: I see, I hear, I know, I am come down to do something about it!

The calling of Moses was not just a ministerial moment in the life of a man who was trying to find his way out of the desert.  It was much more than that. It was God keeping His promise, fulfilling His plan, and perhaps most encouraging, demonstrating His mercy to a group of people facing extreme affliction.

The God of the Old Testament is often characterized as being judgmental, harsh, and even brutish. There’s a tendency to only major on the wrath of God during those patriarchal dispensations.  However, here at the burning bush, we sense the warmth of God’s compassion and empathy to a group of people being harshly mistreated.  This radiant moment at the bush parallels the tenderness of Christ as He looked upon the masses and saw them shepherdless. Moved with compassion, Christ was ready to act on their behalf.

Perhaps, like the children of Israel, you too are undergoing a prolonged season of adversity and affliction. Can I assure you, the same God that spoke to Moses has a word for you as well.  Consider the four statements made by God as He addressed the affliction of His people.


1. God Sees Your Affliction – “I have surely seen the affliction”

Hundreds of years had passed. No sign of the law. No divine encounters. No water from the rock. No bread from glory. No sight of God anywhere.  The only vision of God’s people was that of a fiery whip from the Egyptian taskmasters.

But God, whose eyes roam to and fro throughout all the earth saw His people in their affliction.  Yes, the God who sees every fallen sparrow, every diving dolphin, every blessed blade of grass…this very God saw His people.  Can I assure you of something in your affliction? This very God, the only God, sees you as well.  No, you may not always see the Lord, but the Lord always sees you. Even in your affliction.


2. God Hears You – “have heard their cry”

God not only saw His people, but He told Moses that he had “heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters.” I am thankful that God hears and answers prayer.  He sees you and He hears you.  But here, in context, we do not necessarily find Israel praying to God.  Instead, the cry that God hears is a cry of anguish because of the beatings they endured.  Their cry wasn’t necessarily directed to the Lord; but it didn’t matter, the Lord still heard them!

There are times when we cry in prayer, and then there are times we simply cry.  Both, according to the text, move the heart of God. Your child may cry your name or he may simply cry.  Either way, you are compelled to their need, their pain, their affliction.  This very God of glory, our heavenly Father, is quick to hear His children no matter how feeble or frail the call.


3. God Knows Your Sorrow – “I know their sorrows”

God sees, God hears, and God knows.  Yes, God told Moses that He knew “their sorrows.”  The word “know” is a very intimate word describing the sacred bond between husband and wife.  God knew all the parts, He knew all the details. He knew all the subtleties and nuances.

In our sorrow, we are oftentimes tempted to cover up. We wear our religious and spiritual facades hoping no one sees past the charade.  We are pretty good at fooling most people when it comes to pain and sorrow.  But can I tell you something? God knows.  He knows, in detail, at this very hour, how you feel, what you feel, and why you feel what you feel.  As the hymn writer said, “Jesus knows all about our struggles.”  What consolation in the most tumultuous times of life that we serve a God Who understands, He knows.


4. God is Willing and Able to do Something About It – “I am come down to deliver”

It is one thing for God to hear, to see, and to even know; but to do something about it…well, that takes a pretty compassionate and impressive God.  And that is pretty much what Jehovah told his servant Moses, “I am come down to deliver.” Yes, it would be Moses who stood before Pharaoh. It would be Moses who lifted the rod at the Red Sea. It would be Moses who gave instruction about the pascal Lamb…but beloved, it was God who delivered.

And it is still God Who delivers!  At this very moment, in your hour of pain, your bondage of burdens, God sees, He hears, and He knows.  But above and beyond that, He has the authority, the power, and the grace to invade your circumstance and do something about it.



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