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Exodus 2:23–25

“God heard [Israel’s] groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew” (vv. 24–25).

No earthly king lives forever, and in today’s passage we learn that sometime after Moses settled in Midian, the king of Egypt died (Ex. 2:23). This was noteworthy for at least two reasons. First, it meant that Moses could perhaps go back and have dealings with the Egyptian court, for the king who had sought his life was dead (see v. 15). Second, a change in administration might mean a change in policy regarding the Israelites and their enslavement.

But such a change in policy was not to be. The slavery continued, prompting the Israelites to cry out to the Lord for rescue (v. 23). This is the first time we read about Israel praying in the book of Exodus. Maybe it indicates that this was the first time during their enslavement that they realized that if help were to come, it would have to come from God Himself. In any case, the cry of the people did not go unheard, for we read in Exodus 2:24 that “God heard their groaning.”

Furthermore, God did not merely hear their cries for relief. Verse 24 goes on to say, “And God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” Few statements of Scripture are more momentous than this one. Perhaps only the cry of Jesus when He had accomplished redemption—“It is finished”—surpasses the statement that God remembered His covenant with the patriarchs in terms of its ramifications for the people of God. After all, that God remembered does not mean that He recalled something that He had forgotten, for nothing escapes the mind of our omniscient Creator (Isa. 49:15). Instead, that God remembered His covenant meant that He was preparing to act to fulfill the promises made in that covenant. It is never a small thing when the omnipotent Lord of creation is about to act, and He was about to do something especially grand by liberating His people from slavery in Egypt.

In the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God pledged to make the Israelites a great nation, establish them in their land, and through them bless the world (see Gen. 12:1–3; 15; 17:1–21; 22:1–19; 26:1–5; 28:10–22; 46:1–4). But none of this could happen while the Israelites were still slaves in Egypt. At one of the great turning points of redemptive history (the history of how God worked out events to save His people), our Creator remembered His covenant with the patriarchs, and 1,400 years later He would remember it again by sending the Messiah (see Luke 1:46–56).

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

It is good news indeed that God remembers His covenants. We are a forgetful people who fall short in our commitments, but the Lord never fails to keep His promises. From our perspective, He may seem slow in doing so, but rest assured that He will always keep His covenant words. If we trust in him, we can count on Him today to save us and to give us many more blessings besides.


For Further Study
  • Leviticus 26:40–45
  • Acts 3:11–26

Moses Settles in Midian

Shepherding Is Never Outdated

Keep Reading Pride and Humility

From the January 2022 Issue
Jan 2022 Issue