Greetings in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. (2 Peter 3:8-9a)
Moses and his brother Aaron returned to Egypt and called all the elders of Israel together. Aaron told them everything God had told Moses, and Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched. Then the people of Israel were convinced that God had sent Moses and Aaron. When they heard that God was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
Then the Israelites rehearsed again and again in their hearts what God said through Moses and Aaron,
“I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering.” (Exodus 3:7b)
The creator of heaven and earth heard their cries and prayers. What else could the Israelites ask more? God knew their oppression in Egypt, which they forcefully got as enslaved people. It was not all. God called them “my people.” They thought they were abandoned by God whom they believed and became orphans whom nobody cared for. Were there any parents who ignored their children’s cries? None. But so far, they heard nothing from God. Why didn’t God, their Heavenly Father, respond although they cried out to God daily for many, many years?
One night, they decided to stop praying to God because God had not responded at all for many years. The following morning, they made every effort not to cry out God to God, who had been indifferent to their prayers for so many years. They endured the torturous day with their own might and strength, and they encouraged each other. Also noticed their slave drivers the unexpected sudden performance improvement of the day.
At the end of the day, the Israelites knew it was a successful day. They even felt that it was a fulfilling day because it was far less miserable than the days that they lived many years. They came to the conclusion that the success of the day owed their decision. Thus, they stopped to cry out to God, who would not hear their prayers anyway. Their decision to steer away from God, and make their own decisions work well. They worked closely with the slave drivers, which was a huge success. All became extremely cooperative with the slave drivers. As a result, nobody was whipped by the slave drivers on the first day. They felt lighter in their hearts, and their day was short by being more productive. They helped together to go through the day.
Finally, they found a way to go through each tortuous day under their Egyptian slave drivers. Their new attitude improved the relationship with the Egyptian slave drivers too. But they were moving away from God, as they focused on their own way by directly dealing with their slave drivers, not with God. They thought they could continue improving their lives in Egypt through this approach. The new approach worked well. The Egyptian slave drivers had little reason to whip their fellow Israelites because there was no need. All were good slaves to the eyes of the slave drivers. At night, they returned happily back to their families. Nothing bad started happening day after day, which was their blessing.
However, the world did not work as they expected. One day, something that nobody ever expected happened. The wall that they were actively building suddenly collapsed. No one caused the wall’s collapse, but it collapsed by itself. Yes, by itself. An erroneous design of the Egyptian architects and the poor execution of the Egyptian slave drivers caused the wall’s collapse. Right after the accident, nobody admitted fault. Then the Egyptian slave drivers started blaming the Israelites, who just provided slave labor to the wall project. It was not their fault. Instead, all blame should have gone to the Egyptian architects and slave drivers. Additionally, the collapsing wall tragically took away a handful of lives of Israelites working on the wall at the moment. Their families were wailing, but none of the Egyptian slave drives paid attention to the families and gave no sympathy at all. Instead, they buried the fact to hide from Pharaoh. Thus, the accident officially did not happen, and none was injured or even killed.
It made all Israelites furious against all Egyptians, especially against their Egyptian slave drivers and architects. They grumbled cautiously about it to their slave drivers because they did not want to rock the boat. They had been carefully building up a new relationship with the slave drivers and didn’t want to destroy the precious relationship with their slave drivers, but they also wanted to be heard by their slave drivers. Of course, none of the Egyptian slave drivers acknowledged what had happened.
Whenever there was even a slighted hint of displeasing resistance against their corruption and the aftermath of the tragic accident, the Egyptian slave drivers harshly punished the Israelites. Thus, none could outspeak about what really happened, which started creating a great chasm between the enslaved Israelites and the Egyptians, especially the Egyptian slave drivers. The Israelites met the cold reality that their Egyptian slave drivers couldn’t be the ones who could give their hope. After all, their Egyptian slave masters were cold, calculative, and indifferent people without any hearts for the Israelites.
Their painstaking effort of creating a good relationship with their slaver drivers abruptly halted. Puff! Suddenly, their dreams and hopes, along with their increasingly warm and fuzzy feeling, had immediately gone. All realized that what they chased for was elusive, not real. How was it possible to have a genuine relationship with the Egyptian slave driver as slaves? After all, to the eyes of the Egyptian slaver drivers, the Israelites were slaves, no better than a cat or a donkey. In some sense, the slave drivers’ cat or donkey was more precious to the slave drivers’ eyes. What a tragic truth! They were nothing but machines that worked and worked for the Egyptians till they hit the end of life.
One night, the elders of Israelites got together and talked about what they could do. They believed the Egyptian slave drivers with whom they poured all their energy and painstakingly built up a good relationship would be on their side, but the Egyptian slave drivers, they realized, would have never been their side. No matter what they did, the Egyptian slave drivers would take their side while treating the Israelites as their slaves at the end of the day. The families who lost their husbands and sons out from the wall collapsing accident wailed about their loved ones bitterly without ceasing. It was truly a tragic and gloomy night. None could say anything to the families. The elders of Israelites were silent till their families’ emotions cooled down and gently escorted out the families who lost their loved ones.
The pressure getting by the elders was enormous. Their new approach to their slave drivers hit the dead-end. They had no way out. None spoke up because all knew why they had gone to the Egyptian slave drivers very well. They had a rocky and sad relationship with God, who had never responded to their cries in prayer. Thus, they left God, which was not their fault, but God’s. If God had responded, they had had never left God. From their point of view, they were forced to choose their Egyptian slave drivers. Then they made all their efforts to make the new approach work out. And amazingly, it worked. They could immediately see the difference, and they experienced their lives were getting better. However, the wall accident exposed the cold reality. The Egyptian slave drivers could have never been their dreams and hopes. It was just a one-sided wish. The Egyptian slave drivers only took advantage of the cooperative behavior voluntarily given by the Israelites.
The Egyptian slave drives took all good stuff from the Israelites and did not give back any real meaningful things. At most, the slave drivers gave some smiles and provided a little relaxation to their work environment. Then they quickly protected themselves while sacrificing the Israelites, although the handful of Israelites was hurt and killed because their wrong architecture and mismanagement of the project.
“What should we have to choose?” The elders of the Israelites asked each other. Going back to the Egyptian slave drivers was not an answer. Of course, they would accept whatever the Israelite elders offered, but they would do the same when a similar accident would occur in the future. They would protect themselves while only blaming their fellow Israelites. All nodded. Definitely, they could not go back to the Egyptian slave drivers.
Then the elders of Israelites talked to each other, “What else could they do? Do nothing?” Yes, it could be an option, but the slavery life was too harsh to bear. Without dreams and hopes, nobody could sustain even one day. All knew this fact very well. The elders themselves were also slaves to the Egyptians. Daily they were doing slave labor under the Egyptian slave drivers. No, doing nothing was not an option for themselves and their fellow Israelites. It would be a terrible choice.
All elders were silent again. By the way, one of the elders kept praying silently from the beginning. He raised his hand and stood up. The elder was slightly hesitant and slowly spoke, “We go back to God.” All looked at him immediately. All knew it was not an option because they tried many, many years without any result. Then they gave a deep thinking to all potential options. But it was the only option left.
Yes, all remembered how long they waited for God’s answer without being answered. All remembered what happened to them. Nothing! Yes, nothing happened.
All also remembered what they heard from their parents from kids — God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who made a covenant to bless them and their descendants whom they were. Since then, generations and generations believed and worshipped God. Surely, they also believed in God, who would always protect, guide, and bless them. But what happened? They became Egyptian slaves. Only if God listened to their cries in prayer, then would they have had believed God as their ancestors did? How many times did they pray to God with truly authentic and contrite hearts, who would protect and bless them? Nobody could remember.
Indeed, the Israelites still cried out to God whenever their hearts broke. Especially when the day was miserable under the Egyptian slave drivers, they bitterly cried out to God with all their hearts and minds. But it was a just prayer without truly trusting God for answering their prayers, but it was the only way to vent their pains of the day of the hard life. And as they expected, they did not hear any responses from God. Even so, as they prayed to God because it gave some comfort in their heart. The became a daily ritual, not because they wanted it, but because it was the only way to forget their misery regardless they heard from God or not.
In recent months, they stopped prayers completely. They found a way to get peace and comfort. It was to build a good relationship with their slave drivers and to rely on the slave drivers. However, they realized the perceived good relationship was completely false after the wall accident, and they were in limbo. Therefore, the praying elder begged to go back to God and pray!!!
However, a small group of the elders did not believe what the elder was saying. The small group of elders started arguing by reminding the painful experience with God. They asked, “Do you really want to hear about the name, God? You will only get the same painful experience from God because He will not respond to us anyway. Why do you want to go back? Are you thinking or not? Be rational!” Their logic worked, and their position was gaining among the elders. Then they proposed to restart the relationship-building effort with the slave drivers because it worked once. If there were no tragic, unfortunate accident, the approach could have had been working even today. It was truly unfortunate. That’s all.
The praying elder persisted and never sat down while keeping telling, “Go back to God.” His voice was not loud, and he was not a convincing speaker, but he did not stop saying, “Go back to God.” His persistence slowly sank into the hearts of the elders. He was uniquely different from the small group of the elders proposing restarting what they had done with the slave drivers. His face was brighter than anyone in the room, which was almost glowing like a rising morning sun. God’s spirit was on him and radiating through his face.
Then something mysterious happened. Initially, the small group of the elder’s option was gaining, but slowly the trend was reverting back to the praying elder. One by one, the elders joined the praying elder. Then one elder in the small group stood up and strongly objected. He said, “Haven’t you experienced enough of God? Why do you want to get yet another disappointment from God? We know we could work out with the slave drivers, but with God, nothing worked.” He logically debated not to go back to God. Then he added, “God is not visible. Has anyone in the room even seen God? Has God ever responded to our prayers? If so, why are we here this late at night? There is no reason except God not hearing us, isn’t it? Then why do you want to go back to God who would not respond to our prayer anyway?”
The opposing elder was convincing and persistent too. He looked had no knowledge when he sat down. He kept reminding the painful experience with God. Finally, he said, “If God existed, why are we in slavery in Egypt?” It was truly a convincing argument. Then the elders split again into two groups: going back to God vs. not repeating the same mistake and working out with the slave drivers.
There was again a long discussion among the elders. The praying elder kept praying to God for God’s help and guidance. The debate went on and on. It was a truly critical matter. All clearly knew that not having dreams and hopes literally meant death as slaves. Without hopes and dreams, no one could sustain even a day under the Egyptians.
It was getting late and it was past midnight. All were actively involved in the debate. The praying kept praying to God for God’s guidance on the entire elders. About 1 AM, the praying elder decided to stand up. He calmly asked to join him and go back to God as he stood up. His voice was soft but powerful as if God were speaking. Yes, it was not him, but the Holy Spirit in him spoke. All elders heard the message from God through him. Then the elder sat down quietly. There was absolute silence. Then one by one, the elders said, “Yes, we have to go back to God!”
It was a miracle. For this time, no one objected, including the elder emphasized the logic and the logical conclusion about God and insisted on working out with the slave drivers. The Holy Spirit came down the hearts of all elders. All knew and agreed on what they had to do. All knelt down and prayed. Some prayed loudly, telling sins that they had committed to God. Some praise God with a loud voice in prayer. Some gave thanks to God for what God would do. Some just silently prayed with eyes filled with tears. All rededicated themselves to God and were touched by God and filled with the Holy Spirit. They kept praying to God for God’s salvation and His hand to rescue them from the miserable slavery and believed. Nobody doubted God and His goodness. It was the first revival among the elders ever after being enslaved by Egyptians. The new morning sun rose. The elders left the meeting place to their families in hope and thanksgiving in God. All committed to praying continually and giving thanks to God because God was good.
The following morning all went back to the forced slave labor, but their hearts were in hope and thanksgiving to God. Nobody protested, and none grumbled against what Egyptians did. The Egyptian slave drivers felt something different, but they could not pinpoint what it was. The slave drivers could see that the enslaved Israelites’ faces were much brighter than the previous day. They seemed to work harder. It was good for the Egyptian slave drivers because the Egyptian slave drivers got more for the day. The enslaved Israelites were working harder, mysteriously, even joyfully.
On the same day, Moses went far to Sinai, the mountain of God, and met God. Then God sent Moses to rescue the Israelites. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness of Midian till God’s time came. The day was God’s time for Moses and the Israelites enslaved in Egypt.
Sometimes we feel God is completely indifferent and does not listen to our prayers, although we present our dire needs with heartful and contrite prayers. No, our feeling is not true. God listens to all our prayers and eagerly waits for His time when we are ready and all others associated in our prayers. God surely answers our prayer. What we need is our faith in God, who is infinitely faithful to us. God is our Ever-Loving Father, who gives nothing but the best, not the 2nd best. This is our faith.
It did not take many days. Moses and Aaron showed up before the elders of the Israelites and explained what God told to Moses — God’s plan that was exactly what they prayed.
All were in joy, although they were still slaves in Egypt. Finally, they saw the light that they had waited for a long, long time. Many questioned again and again, “Is this life worth living?” because their lives were too harsh. However, finally, they realized that God had heard their prayer. God’s answer came with Moses and Aaron to rescue them from their slavery. How could it be happier and more exciting than hearing God’s response to their prayers through Moses and Aaron, whom God sent for them?
After Moses and Aaron’s presentation to Israel’s leaders, all gather around Moses and Aaron. They gave thanks to God with the loudest voice because God heard their prayers and answered. They heard God’s answer through Moses and Aaron!
Imagine what we would do when God has finally responded to our prayer after many years’ our prayer? Surely God answers all our prayers. God is our living God. Without any question, God dearly and madly loves us at this very moment. God eagerly loves to listen to our prayers, and God carefully listens to all our prayers to answer all our prayers. Even now, God is working diligently for us behind the scene, although we might not be able to see His almighty and ever-loving hand. God has already prepared the best, not the 2nd best, for us, and He early waits for God’s time to see us, His children, who joyfully give heartful thanksgiving to Him.
“I have promised to rescue you from your oppression in Egypt. I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.”’ (Exodus 3:17)
“Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” (Ezekiel 12:28)