“But the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.” (Exodus 1:7 NIV84)
You’ve had those times, so have I, when it seems like God is a million miles away from your reality. You sense He is so far away that He doesn’t see your need, and He is not hearing your cries. We’ve all been there, haven’t we!? Imagine for a minute that the answer to the distance doesn’t come in your lifetime, nor in the lifetime of five to six subsequent generations. This is what we are talking about in the early part of the book of Exodus. The children of Israel had been in Egypt for more than 400 years, generations of God’s people coming and going from this earth not sensing that God is near enough to see their needs. I imagine many resigned themselves to the fact that God had forgotten them. Can you blame them? We get upset if God doesn’t meet our needs as fast as the drive-through at Starbucks. Imagine the wait to be years, decades, or even generations.
I want to offer an opposing view to what is normally thought and felt by most of us when we are in these dark times. Here it is: It is not that God is distant; it is that He is quiet. Note our verse today. Moses described that even through the 400+ years that the Israelites lived in Egypt, God faithfully provided for their needs, blessed them, and caused them to grow from 70 to becoming “exceedingly numerous.” God may not have been talking to the children of Israel like He spoke to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but that doesn’t mean He was any less faithful. Even when God seems to be quiet, we must be assured that He is NOT distant. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. The entire book of Exodus is about God’s faithfulness to His promises and His people. He would break His silence and prove that He was not distant by rescuing them from the hands of the Egyptians and setting them free toward the Promised Land.
You and I need to know that when we are living in those dark and quiet times that God is still near. He sees. He hears. And He quietly works to guide, protect, comfort and defend us. Let’s not equate God’s periodic silence with distance. We have enough examples in Scripture to assure us that He is right by our side.