I. I HAVE SEEN THE AFFLICTION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT.
A. God had shown Abraham that his seed would be strangers in a land that was not theirs and they would serve them and be afflicted. But God would then bring them out with great substance.
1. At the time of Moses, the children of Israel had been in Egypt for four hundred years.
2. They had first gone down in the days of Jacob when Joseph had been made second in the land of Egypt, in the beginning they were treated with great respect and honor because of Joseph.
3. Through the years Joseph was forgotten about and the Egyptians had made slaves of the Israeli's.
4. Many of the great monuments in Egypt are thought to be constructed by the Israeli's slaves.
B. As is often the case the poor servant class people began to multiply much faster than the elite ruling class, and they had become a threat to the national security of Egypt.
1. It is at this time that the Pharaoh ordered that all of the boy babies of the Israeli's should be killed by the midwives and the girls be allowed to live.
2. The Israeli's began to cry unto God because of their affliction.
C. It is here that God declared, "I have seen the affliction of My people in Egypt."
D. Sometimes our concept of God places Him on such a high plane, or removed at such a distance, that He is aloof and separate from His creation.
1. The Psalmist said, "When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him?"
2. Often in those times of sorrow and pain, we feel very lonely as though God does not see or know.
3. In those times if you will listen carefully you will hear God whisper, "I see, I know."
E. It should be noted that the children of Israel had been crying for many years, and the heavens seemed silent.
1. The whole while God was watching.
2. Many times in the Psalms we read where the Psalmist prayed that the Lord would make haste to help him. David prayed "Make no tarrying O my God."
3. I do not know why, but God never seems to be in a hurry to accomplish His purposes.
a. Many are the times, I, with David have sought to push Him along a little faster.
b. The scripture says that they that believe shall not make haste.
c. The Hymn declares "Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care, not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there."
II. I HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANING.
A. God sees your predicament, He hears your cries.
1. The Psalmist said, "God fulfills the desires of those that fear Him and He will also hear their cry and save them." Ps.145
2. When David was delivered from the hand of Saul he wrote these words. "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, so shall I be saved from my enemies. In my distress I called unto the Lord, and I cried unto my God, and He did hear my voice out of His temple, and my cry did enter into His ears."
B. Why is it then that at times it seems that our prayers go unanswered?
1. Job said, "I cry unto Thee and You do not hear me, I stand up and you regard me not."
2. The prophet Habakkuk said, "O Lord, how long shall I cry and you will not hear?"
a. God's answer to Habakkuk was that He was working though Habakkuk did not see it, and that the just shall live by faith. Or trust Me.
b. Often the seeming delays are a matter of perfect timing.
c. Sometimes they are designed to test our faith.
C. Sometimes it is our alienated position from God.
"Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened that He cannot save, neither is His ear heavy that He cannot hear, but your sins have separated you from your God."
They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.
Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though theyshall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
a. It is as though God is saying to them, you did not listen to Me when I spoke to you, so I will not listen to you when you cry to Me.
b. Just who does man think that he is that God should drop everything to listen to him when he is desperate, when all the while he has not been listening to God?
c. Like I will only listen to Him when I please, but He must listen to me whenever I seek to call.
d. God is saying, "It doesn't work that way."
5. The Psalmist said, "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and His ear is opened to their cry."
III. I HAVE COME DOWN TO DELIVER THEM.
A. He not only sees and hears, but He acts to deliver.
1. He does not just stand by impassionately.
2. He is waiting for the opportune moment.
3. When I trained to be a life guard we were told that if you approach a person who is panicking in the water, you must be careful not to get too close while they are still struggling for they will get a death grip on you and you can both go down. They told us to keep a distance and let them expend their strength then get hold of them from behind.
4. I think that many times God allows us to spend all of our energies and abilities, and when we then give up and start to sink, He takes hold of us and delivers us. Lest I say, by my own hand have I delivered myself.
5. As long as I am still struggling He will let me struggle.
IV. A SHARP CONTRAST FROM THE GODS THAT ARE MANMADE THAT THE PSALMIST SPOKE ABOUT IN OUR PSALM THIS MORNING.
A. Eyes have they but they see not, ears have they but they hear not. They cannot lift a hand to help you.
1. They must be moved by you.
2. You must carry them, they cannot carry you.
B. Isaiah spoke of the folly of those who made their own gods.
They that make a graven image [are] all of them vanity; and the things they treasure are worthless; they [are] their own witnesses; that they see not, nor know; He said that they had formed gods or molded graven images that have no profit. The makers of these gods are men, the smith with his tongs works in the coals and fashions the god with hammers and makes it with the strength of his arms. The carpenter stretches out his ruler. He marks his lines and smooths it with planes. He marks it with a compass, and fashions it like a man, according to the beauty of man, that it might be placed in the house. He cuts down the cedars or takes the cypress or oak because of the strength of the wood. He plants an ash tree that the rain nourishes. When he cuts down the tree, he puts part of it in the fireplace to warm his house. He uses another part of it in the oven to bake his bread, and part of it he uses to make a god,
which he then falls down before it to worship it, and he cries to it, "Deliver me, for you are my god."
They do not seem to know or understand, it is as though their eyes are closed and they cannot see, their hearts do not discern, they do not seem to consider that from the same tree they have made a fire to keep warm, and used part of it in the oven to bake their bread, and with part of it they have made an abomination. Shall I fall down and worship a piece of wood?
C. What did those little carved gods represent?
1. If it was fashioned to look like a nude multi-breasted woman, it represented that I worshipped, was my god.
2. If it was fashioned to look like Molech, it meant that I worshipped pleasure, that pleasure was my god.
3. If it was fashioned like Mammon, it meant that money was my god. I worshipped power and the desire to possess things.
4. If it were fashioned like Baal, it meant that I worshipped my intellect, that my intellect was my god.
D. Today people are to sophisticated to carve out little idols, but they still serve the same gods. If you carved an idol to represent your god, which idol would you shape?
1. Let us say that you are facing a life or death situation, which of these gods would you call on to deliver you?
2. If your child was dying, the doctors declared that there was nothing more they could do, which of the gods would you seek for help?
3. When you come to your own facing of death, which of these gods do you want to stand by you to receive you?
4. You may want to live for your god, but do you want to die with him?
E. I, for one want a God who can see when I need help, and can hear my cry when I call, and who is able to deliver me.
1. I don't need a god I have to carry. I need a God that can carry me.
2. I don't want a man made god, I want to be a God made man.