Right now, there’s a lot I don’t know.
I don’t know what today will bring. Or tomorrow, for that matter. I don’t know how long I will live, or when I will die. I don’t know how many kids my husband and I will raise, or if we’ll be able to have them at all. I don’t know where we’ll be living in a year, five years, 10 years. I don’t know when this season of pain will end—or if it ever will.
I don’t know a lot of things. But regardless of what I don’t know, God does.
And God Knew
After years of oppression by the Egyptians, God’s people, the Israelites, had had enough. The pains of back-breaking labor and the king’s order for infanticide were overwhelming. But God’s people, growing exceedingly strong and fruitful, continued to multiply: “But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad” (Exodus 2:12). Then Scripture says,
During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. (2:23-25, emphases mine)
Do you sense the intimacy in this passage? And God knew. To be fully known, loved, and accepted is the epitome of sweet human experiences. We feel the safety of such intimacy in our friendships, familial ties, and especially in the marriage bond. But God’s intimate knowledge of his people runs more deeply than any earthly relationship—even beyond our knowledge of ourselves.
Three Ways God Knows You
From this passage, we see three facets of God’s intimate knowledge of his people, and how this encourages us to entrust ourselves to him, especially in times of trouble.
God’s knowledge means he hears you.
Scripture tells us that the Israelites’ “cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning.” God attends to the desperate cries of a broken, needy people. Though we don’t deserve to be heard, God chooses to hear and acknowledge repentant sinners who struggle with unfaithfulness and wander from him. God hears, despite his full knowledge of us, and because of his full knowledge of us. His salvation comes to us undeserved and by his great mercy.
Are you in the trenches like the Israelites, struggling to believe that God would care enough to hear your groaning? Have you been burdened by your sin, or has suffering come to you uninvited, a heavy load upon your back?
Trust in Jesus. Even when you don’t know what to say, cry out to him. Jesus, our great high priest, intercedes for God’s people, and has cleared the way for sinners to approach God openly and without fear of his dismissal.
Groan, cry, and plead—God’s knowledge of you in Christ means he hears you.
God’s knowledge means he remembers you.
Scripture says God “remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” What was this covenant? It was God’s promise to multiply a people for himself as numerous as the stars, and eventually to bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey. God hadn’t pledged this covenant because his people were worthy and had earned it; rather he made his people worthy of receiving such a gift by calling them to trust his covenant-promise.
A promise is only as true as the one who makes it, and God is truth. For us, God has made a better covenant through the shedding of his Son’s blood, promising to give us his Holy Spirit and a new heart that loves and obeys him.
So even when you can’t sense his presence, and you wonder if God has left you to suffer alone, lean into God’s better covenant in Christ, secured through blood, that means he will never leave you, nor forsake you.
Trust him, believe him, and stand firm—God’s knowledge of you means he remembers you.
God’s knowledge means he sees you.
Scripture reminds us that “God saw the people of Israel” in the midst of their oppression by the Egyptians. God’s all-encompassing sight means nothing is hidden from him. In the middle of our darkness, when the light fades, when our prayers run dry and morph into groanings, what we yearn to know is that God sees us. That he takes note of our cries and pleadings for his help. That he notices us in our pain. And that he will not look away.
God not only sees our dire circumstances, but the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. His knowledge of us includes all our sin and weakness, the inner-most thoughts of humans defeated in spirit and desperate for deliverance: our anger toward enemies, resentment toward God, even self-pity, envy, and thanklessness. For God to see us fully, yet to remain faithful to us, is to trust a God whose knowledge does not lead to condemnation, but freedom.
So even when you can’t understand your circumstances, and even when your frustration and anger lead to sin, grace upon grace is yours in Christ, who lived, died, and rose to remove your condemnation. True, nothing is hidden from God’s sight, but rejoice!—for now your life is hidden with Christ in him.
Revel in this, flee from the sin his sight exposes, and rejoice in grace—God’s knowledge of you means he sees you, and has covered by Christ all that is laid bare before him.
God intimately knows you. He hears. He remembers. He sees. In trouble, this is all we need to know—and always, it is all we will ever need.