September 11, 2001! The date alone brings chills to most people. Where were you when
you first heard the news of the terrorists attacks on New York and Washington D.C.? Most people could tell you exactly where they were and what went through their mind as they first heard the reports. For many, the first question that came to mind was, “Where was God?” People struggled to understand how an all-powerful God could stand by and watch when these terrible acts took place. I heard all sorts of answers to the question. I saw a video of one woman who said, “God was watching, but this was just out of His control.” I heard others blame God, saying that he caused the attacks. Most people struggled to find an answer to the question.
The Hebrew people were asking the same question. Four hundred years earlier, God spoke to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He did miraculous things in their lives. Joseph became the second in command among the Egyptian rulers. But God hadn’t spoken in 400 years. Now the Hebrew people were suffering incredible hardship and slavery. And on top of all of this, now Pharoah was demanding the murder of the male children of the Hebrew people. The Hebrew people were suffering intensely under the cruel hand of a wicked tyrant who used terror to accomplish his plan.
“How could God allow this to happen?” “Where is He?” “Does He even care?” The Hebrews had to be filled with the same questions that haunted many of us on September 11. The book of Exodus is the answer to that question. God is on His throne! He did not cause evil. Evil and suffering are a result of sin. Sometimes evil and suffering happens because of personal sin. Sometimes evil and suffering happens because of others sin. And sometimes people suffer because sin has so tainted the universe that evil and suffering surrounds us. But even though God did not cause evil and suffering, God even uses the evil of man to accomplish His ultimate purpose and plan. God will use Pharoah’s actions and the suffering of the Hebrew people to show the world that there is only one God. God had a plan for the Hebrews even before they began to pray.
Although the Hebrew people endured hardship, in the end they were vindicated by the power of God. God heard their prayer, and answered in a miraculous way. By the end of Exodus, the Hebrew people will praise God for their slavery, because they understand that God’s power was demonstrated in the midst of it.
We may not understand September 11, or other times when oppression and evil seem to prevail. We may not have all the answers. In fact, we may not understand totally until heaven. But as a follower of Jesus Christ, you can be assured that God is on his throne, and will accomplish his purposes even through the evil decisions and wicked actions. God does not cause these events, yet, they do not catch Him off guard. But we can know that He will use those events in His eternal plan. In the end, God will be glorified, even through those terrible events.