Reading: Exodus 1–2
Do you groan? Are you groaning? God hears groaning. Paul tells us that the whole creation is enslaved by the corruption or depravity in the world (Rom 8:21 NASB). Presumably the creation is enslaved by the wickedness done upon it by the wicked. Not only the creation itself, be we too groan. We groan while we wait (Rom 8:23). In context, we might conclude that we groan because of the wickedness done to us and to others. (See also James 5:4-8.)
The Israelites groaned also. They had been subjected to slavery and with that, all that slavery entails. Their lives were full of oppression and misery. Injustice proliferated. None of that could stop the Israelites from multiplying. In fact, the more oppression, misery, and injustice they experienced, the more they multiplied and grew (Exo 1:12). So Pharaoh commanded that all Hebrew boys born be killed. However, the Hebrew midwives feared God more than the king and didn't obey (Exo 1:17).
All of this led to Moses being adopted by Pharaoh's daughter and out of Pharaoh's coffers, Moses' mother was compensated for nursing her own child. Decades later, Moses is in the wilderness, the people are still suffering, and they are groaning. Groaning because of their forced labor, because of the injustice of their oppressive condition, and they cried out for help to God. God heard their groaning and their cry for help.
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. (Exodus 2:23-24)
Do you groan? Are you groaning? If not, why not? Is it because you have nothing to groan about? Consider the lives of the innocent being snuffed out daily in our own cities through abortion (Pharaoh is still at work!). Consider those being abused or suffering the scars of such abuse. Consider those with debilitating illnesses, or unloving husbands, or wandering children, or alcoholic parents.
Truth be told, there is plenty to groan about. We must cry out for help to God, for God hears such cries. Far too often, however, we are inadequately informed as to how to pray and feel inadequately able to pray for these kinds of things. We just grieve. Sometimes we try to ignore the grief because we don't know what to do with it. Sometimes we acknowledge it but don't know how to pray.
But there is someone else who will help us pray. Not only are we groaning inwardly about these things, but we do so because the Spirit of God within us groans in ways that not even words can express. He helps us to pray when we know not how with this groaning (Rom 8:26).
“But,” you say, “What good will it do to groan, if I still don't know what to say?” Don't worry! God understands groaning. He knows the mind of the Spirit within us and He answers according to the very yearning in our hearts for it is in accordance with His will (Rom 8:27). So, pray. Pray, and don't be afraid that you don't know exactly what to say. Bring your voice to God with cries for help. And when you cry for help, God will hear.
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