Draw Close to God

“I Well Know the Pains They Suffer”

Exodus 3:1-10

“HOLY, holy, holy is Jehovah.” (Isaiah 6:3) Those inspired words indicate that Jehovah God is clean and pure to the superlative degree. ‘Does his holiness make him cold or aloof?’ you may ask. ‘Could such a holy God really care about me​—a sinful, imperfect human?’ Let us examine the reassuring words that God spoke to Moses, as recorded at Exodus 3:1-10.

While tending sheep one day, Moses came upon a most unusual sight​—a thornbush was on fire but “was not consumed.” (Verse 2) Intrigued, he approached to investigate. By means of an angel, Jehovah spoke to Moses from the midst of the fire: “Do not come near here. Draw your sandals from off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Verse 5) Just think​—because the holy God was present representatively, the ground itself became holy!

The holy God had a reason for drawing Moses into conversation. God said: “Unquestionably I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their outcry as a result of those who drive them to work; because I well know the pains they suffer.” (Verse 7) God was not blind to the misery of his people; nor was he deaf to the voice of their pleadings. Rather, their anguish became his own. Notice that God said: “I well know the pains they suffer.” Regarding the words “I well know,” one reference work notes: “The expression implies personal feeling, tenderness, and compassion.” Jehovah’s words to Moses reveal a deeply concerned and caring God.

What would God do? He did not merely look with pity or hear with compassion. He was moved to act. He purposed to deliver his people out of Egypt and to bring them “to a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Verse 8) To that end, Jehovah commissioned Moses, saying: “Bring my people . . . out of Egypt.” (Verse 10) Faithful to that commission, Moses led Israel out of Egypt in 1513 B.C.E.

Jehovah has not changed. His worshippers today can be sure that he sees their adversities and hears their cries for help. He well knows the pains they suffer. But Jehovah does not just feel compassion for his devoted servants. The tender God is moved to act in their behalf “because he cares” for them.​—1 Peter 5:7.

God’s compassion gives us reason for hope. With his help, we imperfect humans can attain a measure of holiness and become acceptable to him. (1 Peter 1:15, 16) One Christian woman who has struggled with depression and discouragement found comfort in the account about Moses’ experience at the thornbush. She says: “If Jehovah can make even the dirt holy, then maybe there is a little hope for me. This thought has helped me profoundly.”

Are you moved to learn more about the holy God, Jehovah? A close relationship with him is possible, for Jehovah “well knows the formation of us, remembering that we are dust.”​—Psalm 103:14.