For the week of January 21, 2006 / 21 Tevet 5766
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 1:1 - 6:1
Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6 - 28:13; 29:22-23
God in Need Is God Indeed
The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey." (Shemot / Exodus 3:7,8)
I have often heard people disparagingly comment on how we have a tendency to only call out to God in times of trouble. Usually, we are busy doing our own thing, not caring one bit about heavenly matters, until we or a loved one are in some kind of imminent danger. Not everyone does this, of course. There are those whose commitment to God is not dependent on circumstances, and there are others who would never call out to God no matter what. Still, I am sure that there are people hearing or reading this message who either presently or in the past have tended to ignore God until great trouble comes their way.
I am not sure what those who criticize this kind of approach to God are trying to say. Are they saying that it is absolutely wrong to only call out to God in time of great need? Are they saying that if someone comes to a place of desperation, but usually ignores God, then should they continue to ignore him and look for help from another source?
I think the problem with this question lies with God himself. Time and time again God has come to the aid of such people. He doesn't get offended with us as quickly as we get offended by one another. The fact is he delights in helping us when we call out to him.
The story of the deliverance of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt is a story of God responding to a people in need. God heard the cry of his oppressed people and responded to them. His loving response was not dependant upon their previous relationship to him. He did not respond to their spirituality or religious fervor. He responded to their need.
One might ask if it is right to only call out to God in time of need. But the objective of such a question should be to encourage people to develop an ongoing relationship with him. His love, his forgiveness, and his availability should spur us on to get to know him better and to live a life that is in constant right relationship with him. Once we know him for who he really is, it would be difficult to ignore him. When we taste his goodness, our hearts will most likely hunger for him. But if for some reason we have not been in that place for some time, or have never been in that place, and God has become your last option, he will indeed respond to you.
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