“During that long period, the king of Egypt died. 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.”-Exodus 2:23-24
The Scripture says God heard the groaning of the Israelites and then “remembered” the covenant He had made with Israel.
Well, did He ever forget?
Of course not.
When the Scriptures use expressions like “God remembered” this is what is called an anthropomorphism.
An anthropomorphism is the process of attributing human characteristics to God.
Other examples we will frequently encounter in the Scriptures are “God smelled the aroma from the sacrifice” or “God was walking in the garden“.
Of course, since God is a spirit, he doesn’t have physical limbs per say.
So when the Scriptures say that God remembered something, it means that according to God’s divine schedule, the time has now become ripe to implement a plan that was foreordained from the very beginning.
Metaphorically speaking, what God did with Israel was bake a loaf of bread.
He started by carefully choosing the necessary ingredients in the proper amount needed.
He then blended everything together, threw it in a oven and set the timer.
In this case, the oven was Egypt.
God knew that in order for the loaf of bread of to be eatable, it would take time for it harden.
Although it may seem otherwise, God never forgot about the loaf of bread He threw in the oven.
His ever watchful eye was always monitoring the baking process.
And then, when the timing was right, he opened the oven door and out popped Israel.
If God had tried to pull Israel out of Egypt prematurely, for example during Joseph’s time when Israel was living a prosperous existence in the land of Goshen, due to their comfortable lifestyle, the Israelites probably wouldn’t have been so receptive to God’s call to make them a holy nation unto Himself.
Now the Hebrew word used for “remember” here is ZAKAR.
However, the nuance of this word is different than how we think of the word “remember”.
The way we think of it is more along the lines of just passively calling something up from our memory banks.
However, the Hebrew word ZAKAR has a very proactive element to it.
It refers to not just the thought process of recalling something but also vigorous and aggressive follow-up action.
It is an ACTION WORD that means to recall something AND become actively involved in the implementation of that thought.
In this case, that thought was to now fulfill the covenant promise that had been lying dormant for nearly 400 years.
The time was now ripe for God to bring Israel out of Egypt and transform them into a set-apart nation unto Himself.
An action that would eventually result in the whole world becoming blessed.
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN EXODUS CHAPTER THREE