I Know Their Sorrows


Elder Mark D. Rowell

Exodus 3:7 “And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;”

The purpose of God in regard to the Nation of Israel was made abundantly clear in the Lord’s conversation with Moses on Mount Sinai. The dialog between Moses and the Lord consisted mainly of the Lord telling Moses what he was going to do and, of course, Moses trying to tell the Lord he had the wrong man for that job. However, the Lord begins this conversation by telling Moses, 1) he’s on holy ground, 2) who he (the Lord) is, and 3) what His purpose is in regard to the Children of Israel. I think it’s also important to note that Moses never argues that the Lord won’t do what He said He would do, just that Moses felt unworthy and unable to do what God was telling him he would do. For as much content we have, my mind is directed to #3 above: the Lord’s purpose regarding the Children of Israel. Even more specifically, let’s look at what the Lord saw, heard, and knew about His children.

We all understand the suffering of the Jews while in Egypt. We also know that the Lord had told Abraham hundreds of years before that Israel would be captive in Egypt. (Gen 15:13) Now the purpose of God is about to be fulfilled in His children at the time that God deemed appropriate. But His statement to Moses gives us some understanding of God’s connection with His children. He doesn’t just tell Moses that He told Abraham this would happen, and that He is now going to fulfill His promise. The Lord certainly would have been just in doing so, but He gives us insight to His love for His children by saying that He is  very  knowing  of   what Israel has been going through, and subsequently, what His children go through day after day in their lives!

First, the Lord says He has “…surely seen the affliction of my people…” There is nothing hidden from the Lord. We have many scriptures that teach us this (Ps 139:1-4, Job 42:1-3, et al) The Lord sees your afflictions. There is no doubting that He is intimately aware of the things that afflict us day after day. The Lord was moved by the sight of His people while He lived in this world. He had compassion on those that were brought to Him in their sicknesses and weaknesses. His compassion hasn’t stopped! He sees us day in and day out and will guide us in the ways we should go, even in the midst of great affliction.

Second, the Lord says He has “…heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters…” Oh my friends, does He not still hear our cries? Don’t the “taskmasters” of our lives, whatever they may be, cause us to cry out to the Lord for relief? David said, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Spa 61:2) Some might say “I cry, but it seems He doesn’t hear!” Haven’t we all felt like that at different times in our lives? Sometimes our prayers are nothing more than cries and weepings, having failed to find words to utter in the direst of times! But He hears! “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Ps 55:17) Oh, He is always listening! He always hears our cries! When it seems life is just too much to bear, we cry, He hears, and brings relief to us by way of His grace, mercy, and love! In the presence of our Lord, we feel a relief that can’t be found anywhere else! This world is one of taskmasters, but our God is gracious, and provides rest to our weary souls.

Finally, the Lord says He “…know[s] their sorrows.” This last one is the most intimate of the three! There is an acquainting aspect of our Lord that is unsurpassed by anything else. His position of empathy is derived from the fact that He experienced all of our sorrows while living in this world. Even more so, He became intimate with our sorrows on the Cross of Calvary! This last portion of scripture should bring to mind another well known scripture: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid   as   it were our   faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isa 53:3-4

The Lord Jesus Christ knows how you feel. Remember, He is a High Priest that is touched “…with the feelings of our infirmities.” (Heb 4:15) He bore our signs on the Cross of Calvary and redeemed us to God by His blood! He now sits on the right hand of the Father, making intercessions for us, completely and intimately aware of our sorrows!

Philip Paul Bliss wrote the lyrics to a hymn we often sing. He lived in the mid-19th century and penned several hymns. He died young, in a train wreck, but wrote many wonderful hymns. Surely he himself was acquainted with our texts in Exodus and Isaiah! The first verse of one of his hymns is: 

‘Man of sorrows’, what a name

For the Son of God who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim!

Hallelujah! What a Saviour! 

Jesus was the Man of Sorrows because of our sorrows! Aren’t you glad He carried our sorrows and bore our griefs! Aren’t you glad the Lord knows our sorrows! May we find comfort in these words while we live in this world, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!