The Egyptians’ insecurity and abhorrence for their Jewish neighbors eventually led to savagery. I find that interesting. It strikes me that if you are prone to violent anger and brutality, it might be wise for you to back off and ask yourself what you’re afraid of. Throughout my years of ministry, I have sadly noted how brutal people are often driven by fear. Fear of loss. Fear of humiliation. Fear of exposure. Fear of weakness. Fear of losing control.
The Egyptians wallowed in that kind of fear. Fear of losing their land drove them to ever more vicious acts of injustice. Once you’ve decided to starve or beat or mistreat one person, it becomes easy to persecute a whole population. Note what happened next: “The Egyptians compelled the sons of Israel to labor rigorously; and they made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and bricks and at all kinds of labor in the field, all their labors which they rigorously imposed on them” (vv. 13–14).
These people [the Hebrews] found themselves in terrible straits, but God had promised, “I’ll send a deliverer.” When times grow hard it is easy to leap to the conclusion that God has forgotten His promises. The Book of Exodus shows us that when God says, “I promise you something,” He never forgets it. You may forget. I may forget. A whole nation may forget. But God cannot forget.
Do you ever imagine that your hard, harsh moments and tests escape God’s notice? You may become so discouraged, so filled with acute pain, that you begin to think God couldn’t be aware of your circumstances, or, if He is aware, then obviously He doesn’t care.
God is always aware. And He cares very deeply. As we will see, He will do whatever it takes to rescue His people. It may be by calling someone home to Himself, or it may be by splitting an ocean right down the middle so you can walk through on dry ground. His deliverance may not arrive on your timetable or in the manner you expect it, but it will arrive at the best time, the right time. God will not abandon His own.