Exodus 3:7

I. GOD IS EVER IN SYMPATHY WITH THE OPPRESSED, AND AGAINST THEIR OPPRESSORS (vers. 7, 9). This is now, thanks to the Bible, made as certain to us as any truth can be. God's sympathy may be viewed -

1. As implied in his moral perfection.

2. As certified to us by the pity of our own hearts. He who put pity in these hearts must surely himself be pitiful. Yet, so much is there in the world which bears a different aspect, that -

3. It needs revelation to assure us of it - to put the fact beyond all doubt. And the revelation has been given. No student of God's character in the Bible can doubt that he compassionates.

(1) His words declare it.

(2) His deeds attest it.

(3) The Cross demonstrates it.

And, whatever mystery surrounds God's ways at present, he will one day make it plain by exacting a terrible retribution for all wrongs done to the defence-less (Psalm 12:5; James 5:4).

1. Comfort for the oppressed. Not one of their sighs escapes the ear of God.

2. Warning to the oppressor.


1. As Abraham's seed - children of the covenant - far gone indeed from righteousness, yet beloved for the fathers' sake (Romans 11:28).

2. As retaining, in however corrupt a form, the worship of the true God. They were his people, in a sense in which the worshippers of Osiris, and Thoth, and the other gods of Egypt, were not.

3. As containing many true believers. There was a-spiritual Israel within the natural - an "holy seed" (Isaiah 6:13) - "a remnant, according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5). Therefore, because Israel was God's people, God was deeply interested in them. He knew their sorrows. He was zealous on their behalf, as One whose own honour was concerned in what they suffered. And as in all their affliction he was afflicted (Isaiah 63:9), so when the time came, he would avenge them of their adversaries. Believers have the same consolation in enduring trial (2 Thessalonians 4-10).

III. GOD'S SYMPATHY WITH THE OPPRESSED IS SHOWN BY HIS MERCIFULLY INTERPOSING ON THEIR BEHALF. As he interposed for Israel - as he has often interposed for his Church since - as he interposed for the salvation of the world, when, moved by our pitiable state under sin - afflicted and "oppressed of the devil" (Acts 10:38; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 1:13) - he sent his Son that "we should not perish, but have everlasting life' (John 3:16). His sympathy with his Church is shown, not only in the comforts he imparts, and the grace by which he upholds, but in the deliverances he sends; on which remark -

1. God has his own times for them.

2. Till the time comes, his people must be content to wait.

3. When it comes, no power can hinder the execution of his purpose.

4. The deliverance will bring with it compensation for all that has been endured - "a good land," etc. The ultimate compensation, when God has brought his people up out of the Egypt of all their afflictions, and planted them in the land of perfected bliss, will be such as to clear his character from all imputations of injustice and unkindness. - J.O.

I have surely seen the affliction of My people.
Quite apart from its religious significance, there is no other historical phenomenon that is to be compared for a moment in interest with this ever-growing wonder of the Jewish race. The light falls clearly and steadily on its history from first to last. The whole connected story lies before us like a mighty river, which from some high mountain summit you can trace from its fountain to the ocean.

I. THE HISTORY OF THIS PEOPLE IS THUS THE HISTORY OF MANKIND IN ITS CENTRAL SEATS OF POWER, It brings with it living reminiscences of the remotest past. In order to understand how strange a phenomenon is this indomitable vitality of the race — a race without a home or a country — compare their history with that of the numberless tribes of other races who have been either migratory or settled. Excepting the Arabs, also Abraham's descendants, all the other settled contemporary races around Palestine have either died out completely, as the ancient people of Tyre, Edom, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt; or, if migratory, they have been lost and absorbed after a few centuries. The bond that has held the Jews apart from other nations, and yet together, has been their common religion, their common historical glory. When all Eastern Asia held evil to be incurable, and eternal, and Divine, the race of Abraham held that evil was "but for a moment," and that God's goodness and justice alone were eternal; and it is they who have taught this lesson to the nations of the modern world.

II. Notice, next, THE TRAGIC SIDE OF THIS WONDERFUL NATIONAL HISTORY. The honour of being the intellectual and spiritual leaders of the world for four thousand years has been paid for by four thousand years of national martyrdom and humiliation. The terrific penalties announced at the beginning for failure in their national vocation amidst the great nations of the ancient world, have been exacted to the letter. The so-called Christian nations have made their lives for nearly fifteen hundred years one prolonged Egyptian bondage, New Testament Christianity has at last taught us English, at least, to love the nation to whom we owe such priceless blessings. We believe that the time is hastening on when Christ will return to avenge the quarrel of Israel, and to end "the times of the Gentiles" by the restoration of the scattered nation to its old central position in a renovated world.

(E. White.)

I. GOD IS BEFOREHAND WITH HIS SALVATION. It is not so much that God has prepared salvation for us, as that He has prepared us for salvation. Salvation was laid up in Christ before sin entered into the world. So that when sin did enter in — and there was need — God brought it forth. There is great comfort and assurance in this truth.

II. GOD DOES NOT ALWAYS ANSWER OUR PRAYERS IMMEDIATELY, OR FROM THE SPOT WHERE OUR PRAYERS ARE MADE. Let us pour out our prayers, and leave them with God. If they fall within His gracious covenant of salvation, they will receive the answer in due time, and as quickly as it is possible for us to receive and bear it.


1. There is compassion and mercy with the Lord. Salvation proceeds from His love and grace.

2. Notice that He says — "I am come down to deliver them."

(1)He has not sent another, but has come Himself. In Christ.

(2)God has not left it for us to reach up to Him, but has in mercy bowed the heavens, and come down to us.We frequently hear people talking about getting up to God. Not long ago, a lady told me that she was "trying to get through nature up to nature's God." This may do for sentiment; but it is not a possible way to reach God. It is true that the "invisible things of Him... even His eternal power and Godhead," are seen by the things that are; but this is not to get to God. To know that there is a God in the universe who is eternally powerful — is not to know Him as a Saviour. It does not help me out of the bondage of sin, or into peace and joy, to know that God is almighty. I must know that He is gracious, and that He receiveth sinners, before I can be at peace. Nay, in fact, I cannot get to Him; He must come to me.

3. God told Moses that He was going to do three things for Israel.

(1)To deliver them.

(2)To bring them up.

(3)To give them a better land.

(G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)


1. Because of the relationship He sustains to them. "My people."

(1)It indicates ownership.


(3)Astonishment.The choicest of God's saints in circumstances of great trial. A problem the next world will better solve.

2. Because tits omniscient eye is upon them. He sees their trials.

3. Because they are in the habit of making known their sorrows to Him by prayer.


1. Sometimes after it has been long continued.

2. Sometimes when least expected.

3. Sometimes by agencies once despised.


1. Prepared by life's discipline.

2. Encouraged by heaven's vision.

3. Called by God's voice.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. Therefore we must love Him.

2. Therefore we must serve Him.

3. Therefore we must aid His Church.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

How interesting is this fact, that God takes cognizance of the afflictions of His people; of one as of many; of great and small! One sometimes is puzzled to determine whether God appears greatest when He rides on the whirlwind and directs the storm, speaks in the thunder, and manifests His glory in the lightning, or when he descends to minister every pulse to the minutest microscopic insect, or to notice the pains, the sorrows, and the sufferings of the humblest and the lowliest of the human family. I have no doubt that God's greatness is more magnificently revealed by the microscope, than it is by the telescope; in creation and in providence in little things, than in great things; and that He appears arrayed in a richer glory when His fatherly hand lays its healing touch upon a broken heart, than when that hand launches the thunderbolt, or gives their commissions to the angels of the sky. God's people could not suffer in the brick-yards of Egypt, without drawing down the sympathies, as they shared in the cognizance, of the Lord God of Abraham.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

1. God had seen the affliction of the Israelites. Alas! it seemed to them as though they were not seen by any one. God sees all. "The eyes of the Lord are in every place."

2. He had heard their cry. The Israelites had begun to entreat for mercy; and, notwithstanding their ignorance, wickedness, and idolatry, the Lord was pleased to hear them.

3. He knew their sorrows; not only He saw and heard, but He knew all, much better than men did, and He pitied their misery. Yes, God sees the affliction and hears the cry of His creatures who are suffering. Do not forget this when you are in sorrow.

(Prof. Gaussen.)

It is wonderful what a provision is made by Deity for human "sorrow." The First Blessed Person in the Trinity is as a Father. A loving Father; a Father, too, most when He chastens most. And the Second is co-equal. A Brother. "A Man of sorrows," who is "acquainted with our griefs." And the Third, co-equal still, is a Comforter. "Father" — "Brother" — "Comforter." What eloquence does it give to the Voice of the wilderness, "I know their sorrows." We should lay great stress on the "I." It is a conclusive

I. No one can say that "I" as He says it, — not father, or mother, or dearest friend. It is "I" — alone in the universe — "know your sorrows." I who made the "sorrows"; I who made you; I who can balance the burden and the strength; I to whom all ears are open and all secrets disclosed. But there are sorrows and sorrows. There are selfish "sorrows," which cannot bear to be seen in happiness, and rather like to make others sad. There are "sorrows" of sheer formality, which come and go with the seasons. There are "sorrows" of mere vexations and mortified pride, which come for any little thing. There are morbid "sorrows," which mope about in solitude. There are defiant "sorrows," which put away all sympathy, and refuse to be comforted. There are idle "sorrows," which lead to no action; barren because there is no root. And there are sorrows which have an actual sin, and sin lives in that "sorrow." And there are "sorrows" which call themselves contrite, but have no penitence; they are merely nature's fears. And there are hardened "sorrows," putting away God, grieving the Holy Ghost, and working death! And God "knows" these sorrows, and His eye detects them in a moment — all their hollowness and all their hypocrisy.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

S. P. C. K. Sermons.
Our nature yearns for sympathy.


1. It is not a mere man who says this, but God — the Creator, the Lord of life and death, the Redeemer, the Comforter.

2. When we remember that the Speaker is the Omnipresent and Omniscient God, we remember also that His knowledge is something more than man's mere knowledge of the fact. He sees the beginning and the end of an event at once; He knows all about our sorrows — whence they came, how, when, why.

3. It greatly raises our thoughts of God's condescension if we consider who these people were, and what their sorrows.(1) They were God's people; but in men's eyes they were but a poor band of slaves, toiling day and night under hard taskmasters.(2) Their sorrows were those which poverty and hard labour bring.

4. As God knew His people's sorrows then, so He knows ours now, however infinitely various they may be — however great, however small-whether of body, mind, or soul. The Lord Jesus knows by experience, toil, fatigue, pain, weeping, anxiety, desolation.


1. If our Lord knows our sorrows thus intimately, we may go and lay the whole before Him, assured of sympathy (Matthew 14:12).

2. If our Lord knows our sorrows, we may be sure that these sorrows are well ordered.

3. If our Lord knows our sorrows, we may be sure that He will help us in due time, and that although He seem to tarry long, He only tarries for our good.


1. If God, who is love and power, knows our sorrows and permits them, though He does not willingly afflict, He must mean something by them; there is a voice in them which we should listen to. Let us ask, what does my heavenly Father mean by this affliction? What sins most beset me? What graces are most lacking in me?

2. By afflicting us, our Father means not only to correct our shortcomings, but to purify our faith.

3. God tries our patience by sorrow, for the example of others. How does the sight of a Christian sufferer cheer and strengthen his fellow-travellers on the Christian course I Let us take care that, in our time of suffering, we glorify God by our —





4. Not only may our suffering affliction be a blessing to others as an example, but as calling forth their sympathy and love.

(S. P. C. K. Sermons.)

I. INFINITE SYMPATHY. Often adversity leads us into a spirit of carelessness and unbelief. In our impatience we cannot wait for the Lord. The history of Israel says — "Leave all to God; He will order and provide."

II. SEASONABLE INTERVENTION. Often God waits to teach us our own helplessness before interposing; but "the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord." "When the fulness of time was come," etc.

III. ABUNDANT BENEFACTION. Christ is a greater Moses, through whom we are not only delivered from the punishment of sin, but sanctified also aa "a peculiar people," and made "meet for the inheritance," etc. Our conversion is merely the turning-point. Heaven is the goal, and God is with us all the way.

(J. C. McLachlan, M. A.)


1. He can help. Fulness of resource.

2. He will help. Whole scheme of salvation based on this.

3. He delights to help. Sympathy, the natural outcome of God's heart.


1. It is certain. He cannot be deceived, or mistaken. What a consolation for afflicted!

2. It is unlimited. God knows all sorrows.

3. It is compassionate. Touched with feeling of our infirmity.


1. It may be long continued. Delay disciplines.

2. It may be deeply oppressive.

3. It may be widely experienced. "I know their sorrows."

(1)Therefore do not complain.

(2)Therefore wait His time for deliverance.

(3)Therefore seek His grace.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

A poor old deaf man resided in Fife. He was visited by his minister shortly after coming to his pulpit. The minister said he would often call and see him; but time went on, and he did not visit him again until two years after, when, happening to go through the street where the deaf man was living, he saw his wife at the door, and could therefore do no other than inquire for her husband. "Weel, Margaret, how is Tammas?" "None the better o' you," was the rather curt reply. "How! how! Margaret?" inquired the minister. "Oh, ye promised twa year syne to ca' and pray once a fortnight wi' him, an' ye hae ne'er darkened the door sin' syne." "Weel, weel, Margaret, don't be so short; I thought it was not so necessary to call and pray with Tammas, for he is sae deaf ye ken he canna hear me." "But, sir," said the woman, with a rising dignity of manner, "the Lord's no deaf!" And it is to be supposed the minister felt the power of her reproof.

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