Worship in Affliction

When I think of the Israelites in the exodus from Egypt I confess the first thought that frequently comes to mind is their seemingly constant fear, doubting, grumbling and turning away. But as I was reading through Exodus again this week I was struck by a beautiful and compelling example set by them.

The affliction of the Israelites in Egypt had peaked, their condition and God’s notice of them is described in Exodus 2:23-25.

“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God.  And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  God saw the people of Israel–and God knew.” Exodus 2:23-25 [ESV]

In response to the cries of the people, God appoints and sends Moses as a messenger and leader for their deliverance.  Moses and Aaron, at Moses’s request, went to the people telling them of God’s impending deliverance for them, and demonstrating God’s hand upon them by the signs He had designated for them to perform. The response of the Israelites is recorded in Exodus 4:30-31.

“Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people.  And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.” Exodus 4:30-31 [ESV]

In the midst of their severe affliction they bowed their heads and worshiped when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction. They had not yet been delivered, but they had been given the Word that God saw them and He would deliver them.  They didn’t wait until after deliverance came to bow down and worship.  They worshiped in the midst of their affliction.

Their worship in the midst of affliction hinged on a powerful statement, though. “And the people believed.”  They were strengthened to worship in the midst of affliction because they believed Him and His Word to be true.

Throughout scripture God is ultimately pointing to Christ and the coming deliverance, redemption and life available through belief in Him, His shed blood and resurrection.  The recording of this account is no exception.

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.” John 5:46 [NASB]

Regardless of the depth and longevity of our affliction, our cry for rescue, like that of the Israelites, goes up to God.  God hears our groaning. God remembers His covenant with us, His children, through the blood of Jesus Christ.  And just as He saw the Israelites and knew their affliction, God sees us–and God knows our affliction.

More than that, just as the Israelites had been given a promise of God’s impending deliverance through Moses and Aaron, we have been given a promise of God’s impending deliverance through Christ Jesus.

He is coming back and He will guide us who believe to springs of living water.  The day is coming when the tabernacle of God will be among men, and He will dwell among us, and we shall be His people, and God Himself will be among us. And in that day God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore (Rev 7:17; 21:3-4)

In the meantime we have a choice to make. The Israelites in Exodus demonstrate both options and their outcomes.

Will we believe Him or not?

Believe. Believe Him.  Believe Him for His promised deliverance.  He is coming and His deliverance is with Him.  Believe His promises of His presence, His faithfulness, His compassion, His lovingkindness, His perfect justice, His patience, His righteousness, His daily provision, His new mercies each morning,  His sustaining strengthening power, His abundant amazing grace, His intercession on our behalf, and His ever-present never failing help.

“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” 2 Cor 1:20 [NASB]

He and His Word are true.  By His grace we can and must daily, hour by hour, moment by moment choose to believe and rest in each and every promise.

Believe. Believe and be moved to worship today. Worship in the midst of affliction because His Word is true, His promises are certain, and His deliverance is coming…

For, ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay'” (Heb 10:37)

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. …  For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.  And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for [our] adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.  For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he [already] sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” Romans 8:18, 22-25 [NASB]

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Sarah’s laptop reminders of His promises and deliverance

2 thoughts on “Worship in Affliction

  1. I have had a couple days when I just wanted to escape and bury my head (for me that means playing mindless video games) but I always listen to worship music and even that background eventually brings me back. I so love reading your blog that helps me to see and be more aware of my feelings!

  2. Beautiful reminder to worship our God in the midst of our hardship. Yes, He sees, hears and knows what we are in the midst of AND has a plan. He is coming again a and we will walk with Him.
    And I enjoyed Sarah’s post it notes. Thanks Karen.

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