God Has Not Forgotten Us

Parashat Shemot (Names)
Shemot (Exodus) 1:1-6:1
Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23 (Ashkenazi); Jeremiah 1:1-2:3 (Sephardic)

Last year, in my commentary on this week’s Scripture portion I wrote, “As the instability throughout the world will only continue to grow, and as we go through hardships and situations that may seem hopeless, let me remind you that our God sees, remembers, and can redeem any situation.” Little did I know how relevant this statement would be one year later. Yet, it has also been an amazing source of encouragement for me, personally.

The horrific war that Israel faces today in Gaza has brought much hardship to so many people on both sides of the conflict. This war started when dark forces launched a horrific and demonic attack of innocent Israeli civilians – Jews and Arabs alike - on a day or rest, which also happened to be a holiday celebrating God’s Word (“Simchat Torah”). These terrorists brutally murdered, raped, and burned young women and men, mothers and fathers, and elderly people in the worst attack Israel have ever known. They also took hostage entire families, including babies, many of whom are still in captivity with their status unknown. In response, Israel had a moral obligation to respond to defend and protect its citizens; we are now facing seven fronts of conflict, including Gaza, Judea and Samaria, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Iran. And let’s not forget the political conflict Israel faces from the many nations who have turned their backs on us.

These kinds of hardships are not new for God’s people. As we see in this week’s Parashah, despite the seemingly hopeless situations, our God sees, remembers, and will redeem any given situation. As we read in Exodus 1:8, “a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” That king decided to make the lives of the children of Israel miserable and increased their hardships through slavery. The king eventually orders infanticide:

But Pharaoh charged all his people saying, “You are to cast every son that is born into the river, but let every daughter live.”
Exodus 1:22

It is interesting to note the command to kill babies, which has historically been a weapon used against the Jewish people for millennia (and which also happened on October 7th when Hamas beheaded and burned alive many babies). It is also interesting to note the instruction to let every daughter live, which is most likely intended to use them as sex slaves. Extreme sexual violence is another sick method that Hamas used in its most recent attack against Israel.

Yet, God saw every hardship that Israel endured, and even though it seemed hopeless, He remembered His covenant and His plan of redemption: 

Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage ascended to God.  So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.”
Exodus 2:23-25

Not only did He remember His covenant, but He also set in motion a way to redeem His people from slavery, physically and spiritually. He does this through the supernatural calling of Moses:

And the LORD said, “I have certainly seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their outcry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.”
Exodus 3:7-8

The same God that redeemed Israel from Egypt is the same God of Israel today. When Moses asks for His name, God replies:

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “This is what you shall say to the sons of Israel: ‘I will be, has sent me to you.’
Exodus 3:14

The words “I will be” indicate that the same God of old, is the same God of today and the One who will always be.

God is our only hope. When all else fails – and at some point, it will for Israel – He will fight for us, and I can confidently say we will stand in awe of the God of Israel! I am encouraged by what the prophet Isaiah wrote in the Haftarah portion:  

Therefore, this is what the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, says concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob will not be ashamed now, nor will his face turn pale now; But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will sanctify My name; Indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.”
Isaiah 29:22-23

I would like to close with the same statement I began with: as the instability throughout the world will only continue to grow, and as we go through hardships and situations that may seem hopeless, let us remember that our God sees, remembers, and can redeem any situation.

Shabbat Shalom,

Check out previous blogs on this parashah!

Did you know? — Lone Soldier

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One Comment on “God Has Not Forgotten Us”

  1. Yes. Thank you, Moran. I dread to see what will happen, but God will come through for Israel in a spectacular way, and the entire world and all the nations will benefit.

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