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. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. (Exodus:2:23-25)
The child who complains about being forced to go to church may not return for decades, but the seed that’s been planted incubates, watered by prayer and grace. God is patient and reluctant to let his people go. Successful families often trace their roots back to pious grandparents who pursued a better life in the face of adversity. Our history bears witness to their faithfulness.
For forty-two generations God prepared the world for his coming. Beginning with Abraham, he lead an insignificant tribe from obscurity to world prominence. They were inheritors of the promise that God would bless all nations through Abraham’s seed. How impossible that must have seemed during nearly 1800 years of captivity, wars, and exile.
“Though the mills of God grind slowly; Yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, With exactness grinds He all.” (“Retribution”, Poetic Aphorisms, 1846 translated into English by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
Ten of the original twelve tribes of Israel were lost to history, but two remained in Judah. Jesus came through this line. The heroes of the faith are singular, often standing against the tide of apathy, sin, and disbelief. They chose to believe that God is trustworthy and deserving of praise even in the long silence. They are witnesses to God’s involvement in the world.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1)
“Lord, please don’t give up on your family. Give us hearts that are sensitive to your voice even in the silence. In times when our faith grows cold, keep us in your hand. Keep our children close.” Amen.
Mindi Oaten’s painting “The Royal Throne”is from God’s Garden of Grace collection. The two eggs in the nest represent the tribes of Benjamin and Judah.