During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. Exodus 2:23-25
God sets the example for us. He shows the way. God hears the cry of the oppressed. God sees the hurt of those who are mistreated. God listens when the weak cry out. And God, in his concern, finds a way to reach the hurting and the needy. God seeks out the poor. He cares.
What about me? Do I follow my God’s example? Do I hear the cries of the hurting?
I must confess, I have often become numb to the cries of the hurting. I have been suspect of those who ask for help. I have been more concerned with how others will respond to my offerings for rescue or assistance than with making sure that I am offering myself to them. I have been less inclined to be poured out as a drink offering and more concerned with those who would drink and how and with what kind of appreciation.
When did it happen that the people of God became less accepting and more judgmental than God himself? When did we take it upon ourselves to determine which hurting were worthy of our time and attention? How can it be that after being given the greatest mercy and grace imaginable we dole it out to others as if we had only sparse amounts in reserve?
Or is it simply that we do not hear them at all? That somehow we have become deaf to the cries for help? Are our TVs too loud, our schedules too busy, our pursuit of our own wish lists too consuming for us to give an ear and hear.
This is not the first time God sets us this example. It is not only here in Exodus and it is not only fro whole nations that are crying out for help. It is for the one as well as the many. Just ask Ishmael, child of parents with little faith and less patience.
God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Genesis 21:17
God heard the boy. Not the nation, not the people. The boy. One boy. A boy who should have been discarded by God. He stood for disobedience to God’s promise and God’s ways. He was the result of Abraham and Sarah not trusting God and waiting on God, but taking matters into their own hands.
Instead God loved him. God heard him. God helped and rescued him. This is what God does. He hears those who cry out for help. And he comes and offers help.
Can I be like this? Can I hear the cries? Can I learn to care enough to drop everything and give all to bring help to these hurting? God sent Moses to Egypt, a foretelling of how he would send his own son to the whole world. God sent all for the sake of those crying. Because he heard and he cared and he was concerned.
I want to hear the cries. I want to take the steps to do what must be done to help the hurting. I want to go forward even when it hurts to see the hurting. Even when it costs to reach out to them. Even when they don’t want what I offer and reject my gifts of love. I want to hear them, I want to care, and I want to help.
I confess that I do not hear very well, because I do not want to hear very well. In my own city there are thousands who are hungry, abused, mistreated, unwanted, unloved, traded as possessions. Thousands—if not more. It hurts to listen to their cries. And it costs me dearly to reach out for them. I do not even know how to reach out to them. God, show me the way. Open my ears. help me to hear.
I have indeed seen the misery of my people…I have heard them crying out…I am concerned about their suffering. Exodus 3:7