And God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
– Genesis 15:13 (NAS)
He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. And the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.
– Exodus 3:6-7 (NAS)
I preached on the silence of God on Sunday (Rom. 1:16-17; Habakkuk 1:2). It is a difficult subject often because we assume that His silence is a negative towards us. I have been intrigued by those people especially in the Bible who had unusual and extended times where they would have been convinced God is silent. Israel is a prime example. Think of being the descendants of Abram who were enslaved in the land of Egypt for 400 years!! Wow, if you were born at any time in that process (and that would include a few generations) you would have lived your entire life (from beginning to end) without “hearing” from God. All that with Joseph’s voice in your ear:
Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.” So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
– Genesis 50:25-26 (NAS)
Great! We are only about 80 years into this thing and Joseph is going on about how God will take care of them and someday deliver them… someday… really…like in another 320 years!!!
When God does speak he picks one guy, Moses, and instead of being thrilled, Moses hides – interesting? In some ways you would think Moses would have been excited beyond words to hear the voice of God and yet when God does appear and speak, he hides his face because he is afraid. We might surmise that Israel has not “heard” from God for hundreds of years and yet, obviously, God is at work and is still working. He appears to Moses and says you are my messenger to communicate to My people I have heard them and will deliver you because He has heard their cry and is very aware of their situation… wow, from a human perspective… it’s about time.
How would you like to live in a situation that was miserable and nothing ever changed? In addition to this, since we know Israel is aware of God’s promise to Abram (Gen. 15:13; 50:25-26) then you would also know this is God’s will for you… hum? Depending on when you are born in this process it could be very discouraging or very hopeful. If you were born at the beginning or middle or sometime before the end could be very discouraging because you know this is going to last 400 years… or at least prorated between when they got there to when they are supposed to be delivered.
So what? I know that there are some people who spend their whole life and never feel they have heard from God know matter how hard they tried to get his attention. Some want to hear from God because they refuse to accept God’s will where they are at and have not learned to live faithfully according to His righteousness. Others seem to have the wisdom and discernment to live like Joseph and serve Him faithfully regardless of their context. Others may hear from God but be more afraid of God and what He may ask of them than not hearing from Him at all.
Are you really listening for the voice of God? Do you really want to hear from God? Would you rather live where you are at or hear from the God of the Universe? Are you afraid to hear from God?