“‘Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians’ … So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.” Exodus 6:7 & 9, NASB
God promised to deliver the Israelites from bondage and place them in “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:17). But after Moses and Aaron spoke to Pharaoh, God’s people were subjected to worse hardship. Instead of experiencing freedom, they were treated more harshly and unfairly. So when Moses sought the Israelites’ attention again, “they did not listen on account of their despondency.”
The Israelites didn’t want to hear Moses’s words because his intervention plunged their situation from restrictive to suffocating. Pharaoh lashed out unreasonably, heaping heavier tasks on them. Despite their initial trust in God’s rescue, the Israelites’ hope dried up like a parched plant. They allowed their awful circumstances to close their ears to the LORD’s words. Though God attempted to revive His people’s hope by speaking through His servant, Moses, the Israelites focused on their afflictions and refused to listen.
How about us? Do we ever ignore God’s message because we’re enmeshed in pain? I believe so. We’re not so different from the Israelites, after all. Yet God speaks to us in the midst of debilitating times. We can hear Him in His Word, and He also speaks through godly people. Almighty God isn’t boxed in by the angry pharaohs of this world or anything else.
The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly (John 10:10).
God knew the Israelites would gain a deeper understanding of His character by witnessing His mighty work on their behalf. He knew that helping them would open their eyes to Him as their God. But they failed to grasp this hope because they refused to listen. As a result, they suffered outwardly and inwardly.