I have heard their cry . . . and I have come down. (3:7-8)
Time was not a healer for the children of Israel in Egypt, nor was a change of government (2:23). The decisive change came when the cry of pain became a cry for help—when moaning turned into praying. Moaning is an ineffective business; praying brings the Lord God Almighty into our needs. Not, of course, that he had forgotten; “remembered” (2:24) is just the Bible’s way of emphasizing that our prayers really do provoke divine action.
Meantime, Moses has spent 40 years in Midian (Acts 7:30) learning shepherding. But the Lord does not say: “Now you are a shepherd, that’s enough.” Moses must be a shepherd who knows the Lord. He comes to know God first by revelation (vv. 2-6), as the holy, self-sufficient God who indwells the ordinary and lowly, like miraculous fire burning in but not on the bush.
Then Moses knows God by experience (vv. 11-12), as the God whose promised presence counters our inadequacy. And finally God reveals himself by name (vv. 13-17), as the ever-actively present God, the great I AM. This God can be guaranteed to hear prayer (vv. 7, 9), to do what he has promised (vv. 8, 17), to give his servant success (v. 18), and to cater for his people’s needs (vv. 21-22).
Ever-living God, show me your holiness, and teach me the power of prayer.