Parashat Shmot (Names) Exodus 1:1-6:1
Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23 (A) Jeremiah 1:1-2:3 (S)
In this week’s Torah passage we read,
“And it came about in those many days the king of Egypt died and the Children of Israel groaned from the work and they shouted and their cry went up to G-d because of the work. And G-d heard their groaning and G-d remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And G-d saw the Children of Israel and G-d knew.”
These verses reveal a very important truth. It was not because the Children of Israel deserved that HaShem should respond to their dire situation that He responded, but rather only because the Children of Israel were in a covenantal relationship with HaShem that He moved to help them. One cannot over emphasize the importance of entering into a covenant with the Living G-d. The text says that G-d heard their cries. The word “heard” is the Hebrew word Sh’ma. Many of you know the Jewish prayer which is said both evening and morning, which is called by the same word Sh’ma. The prayer is actually a verse from Deuteronomy 6:4,
“Hear (Sh’ma) O Israel, the L-rd your G-d, the L-rd is One.”
The word Sh’ma is not just hearing, but it also demands a response. This is one of the great benefits of being associated with HaShem through the New Covenant that Messiah established by means of His blood. G-d does not only hear our prayers, but He will respond. This does not mean the believer always receives that for which he asked, but Hashem will respond according to the richness of His Biblical promises. In speaking about the promises of G-d, it is not a coincidence that the names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob appear in the passage. Many Biblical scholars understand the Patriarchs as representing the ones to whom HaShem made His covenantal promises. Hence the promise, that Hashem is always willing to establish for His people, is redemption with all of its implications.
Redemption means that HaShem will take notice of you and your situations. The passage ends with the sentence, “And G-d saw the Children of Israel and G-d knew.” This verse states that G-d looked upon the Children of Israel and then He knew, i.e. decided what He would do based upon their current situation. Of course in one sense, HaShem always knew, for nothing is a surprise to Him, for He is omniscient. This sentence simply reveals that Hashem is now going to take action based upon their condition. In the next verse (See Exodus chapter 3) Moses is mentioned, for he was the vessel that HaShem would use to bring revelation and redemption to the Children of Israel.
This Shabbat, as we begin to study the book of Exodus, let us focus on the redemption of Messiah Yeshua and how it is only through Him, that one can truly be in an eternal covenantal relationship with the eternal G-d.
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