God’s intention to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage is not only motivated by His holiness, or by His covenant with Abraham and the patriarchs—God’s deliverance of His people is also based upon His compassion for them in the midst of their affliction.
“I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey …” (Exod. 3:7-8a).
This a repeat of Exod. 2:23-25 (cf. Deut. 26:7; Neh. 9:9; Isa. 63:9; Acts 7:34). If there is one thing that stands out in Scripture: God sees, hears, and knows the trials His people face—He is the God who is with us.
Wow! What a great word of encouragement and a source of meaning for our every day lives. We are not alone in the UNIVERSE! There is ONE who truly cares about what we’re going through.
Sometimes life is not easy, living in a fallen world can take its toll on us emotionally and morally. Its easier to retreat and resign ourselves to the way things are (reluctantly accepting something because we cannot change it).
However, in the Divine scheme of things, God had a better outcome/plan for the Israelites, but 400 years had to pass first. This was a prediction made to Abraham in Gen. 15.
Note: the word scheme is often used in a negative sense, but it simply means a plan or an arrangement of things for attaining a better outcome.
For 400 years, the Israelite's were suppressed and were treated as less than human, their morale was low and even beyond what they could bare.
But its in those rough patches (patches that are hard to explain or wrap our minds around) that the Divine breaks through and provides His solution/deliverance.
Exodus 3:8 is a remarkable statement made by the Creator of all things, “I have come down to deliver them...”
Notice, its God’s desire and purpose to deliver... its always been God’s desire and purpose to deliver. One day He will choose again the sinless ONE Jesus to fully redeem His people, His creation.
Jesus first came to deliver us from our sinful selves by His ultimate sacrifice on the CROSS, and He will come again to fully RESTORE us and His creation back to its original design.
His motivation for ultimate restoration is out of His compassion for His creation. As the Bible says that not even one sparrow falls to the ground without His Divine attention/care. (Matt. 10)
As I’ve been journeying through the Old Testament via Bible.org here below are some characteristics of Israel’s God (OT).
Bob Utley points out that “All these characteristics describe God's feelings toward His people, Israel. His character does not change (cf. Mal. 3:6), therefore, these also apply to all faithful followers (i.e., 2 Cor. 1:3).” Note: Check out all these verses and be ministered to by His word.
1. Compassionate (BDB 933, KB 1216) – Exod. 34:6; Deut. 4:31; 2 Chr. 30:9; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; 111:4; Neh. 9:17,31; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2
2. Gracious (BDB 337, KB 333) – Exod. 34:6; 2 Chr. 30:9; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; 111:4; Neh. 9:17,31; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2
3. Slow to anger (BDB74 construct BDB 60) – Exod. 34:6; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; Neh. 9:17; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2
4. Abounding in steadfast love (BDB 912 I construct BDB 338) – Exod. 34:6-7; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; Neh. 9:17; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2
5. Faithful (or "truth," BDB 54, see SPECIAL TOPIC: Believe, Trust, Faith and Faithfulness in the OT) – Exod. 34:6; Deut. 7:9; Ps. 86:15; Isa. 49:7; Jer. 42:5
6. Abundant forgiveness (BDB 699, KB 757) – Neh. 9:17
7. Did not forsake them (BDB 736 I, KB 806) – Neh. 9:17,31
8. Keeps His covenant (BDB 1036, 136) – Neh. 1:5; 9:32
9. Steadfast love (BDB 338) – Neh. 1:5; 9:32 (see SPECIAL TOPIC: Lovingkindness (hesed)
10. Reluctant to send calamity (BDB 636, KB 688, Niphal participle + BDB 948) – Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2
Just as Moses saw the Egyptian beating a Hebrew (2:11), and Pharaoh's daughter saw the child and heard him crying (2:6), so also has God seen the misery of His people and heard their cries (3:7) and has been moved to action.
Seeing, knowing, and acting for others is part of the very identity of God. The God of the burning bush is one who remains faithful to the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
But unlike our human commitments that can falter or fade, God's compassion and presence is consistent. To Moses and His people Yahweh says -- "I will be with you." (3:12)
I’m not always that way. I think about my own level of compassion and realize that I’ve got work to do. When I know to act, sometimes its easy to put things off. For example, the other day an older man phoned about getting some bread. My wife answered the phone and told him that Cobs had said that they’re not giving bread away anymore because of COVID – 19. I think it had more to do with having people come in and bag them.
When I was told about this phone call a little birdie was telling me that I should phone this older man back to make sure he wasn’t in dire need of food. Another black crow on my shoulder was telling me “don’t worry about it.” My wife already gave him the information he needed to know.
I did the right thing and made the phone call and asked him if he needed help with food etc. He said to me he had food, but that he heard about the free bread at the church. I got his name and phone number and who knows, maybe down the road we might strike up a friendship with a loaf or two.
He appreciated that I was concerned about his welfare. Call it what it is – but I think I was being compassionate.
Compassion moved me to make sure this older fellow wasn’t in dire need of food. I think the more we act out of compassion the more we become sensitive to where people are at and the more we become like our God.
These are unprecedented times, filled with uncertainty and fear. The way we meet together as a church has changed somewhat, but we will persevere. Because the Church is not a building. It is not brick and mortar. It is the Body of Christ. It is all of us, honoring God, no matter our circumstance. Any place, any time, any day…We are still the Church! (Ephesians 2:20-22, Hebrews 10:24-25, Colossians 3:16, Romans 12:5)