Exodus 2:23–3:15; 1 Corinthians 13:1–3; Mark 9:14–29
“In the course of those many days the king of Egypt dies. And the people of Israel groaned under their bondage, and cried out for help, and their cry came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God saw the people of Israel, and God knew their condition” (Exodus 2:23–25).
Having read recently how God turned the evil intentions of Joseph’s brothers to good, it’s quite a turn to now be reading in Exodus how quickly their fortunes changed! Our Old Testament lesson tells how the king of Egypt who had favored Joseph and his family died and now, rather than being visitors in Egypt, the Israelites are slaves. Our reading begins with the people of Israel crying out to God under their bondage—and God saw the people of Israel and knew their condition.
Oh, that we could be sure that God hears our cries and knows our condition. On good days, we know full well that the Lord our God hears our prayers and attends to us. On bad days, we’re not so sure. It is all too common for us to feel abandoned and forsaken by God.
Our lesson for today reassures us, however, that God hears our groaning and knows our condition. Our reading in Exodus goes on to tell about the call of Moses to go to the people Israel in Egypt to deliver them. Just after the end of the story of Joseph, who delivered the sons of Israel, the Scriptures tell us of the sending of another deliverer, Moses.
And in the midst of our burdens and troubles, whom will God send to be our deliverer? Jesus Christ! As is the case throughout the Scriptures, the story of Moses points us to the coming of Jesus, who would lead His people, not through the waters of the Red Sea, but through the waters of Baptism, that we might be saved by baptism into His death and resurrection. We have not been forsaken or abandoned—but as God has heard our cries, He sent, and sends a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!
Prayer: Ever-living God, you are always more ready to hear than we are to pray. Help us to look to our deliverer, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ashes to Easter is written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel.
For more information, please refer to the Introduction to the Lenten Devotional Booklet.