"600 years is a long time but no amount of time can erode the power of God's covenant."

"There remains a further liberation to come, not all bondages are yet broken. All creation is waiting for our deliverance 'into the glorious liberty of the children of God.' (Romans 8:21) The whole of creation still groans under bondage longing to be free."

Has He Forgotten Us?

Hananiah struggled under the loaded pallet of bricks. All day, every day in the oppressive heat of the Egyptian sun he trudged the well-worn path from the kiln to the building site, loaded up with yet another burden of newly baked bricks. He was 14 and had been wearily following the same path, with the same load for years now. Exhausted at the end of the day, he staggered back to his family's hut and sought the comfort of the reed mat unfurled on the cool dirt floor. Cross-legged in the corner sat old grandfather Natanel - old beyond reckoning; he had somehow managed to survive the toil of the Egyptian taskmasters beyond his utility. His reward was to finally sit in restful contemplation and mutter to anyone within earshot about the stories remembered from his boyhood.

"Rest now Hananiah, you need to keep your strength for the day of deliverance." It was a good thing Hananiah's father, Uriel was not within earshot - the family had heard enough of grandfather's ravings about the good old days when Yoseph the magnificent ruled over all of Egypt, of Yoseph's father Yacov and his great forbears, Yitzhak and Avraham. "El Elyon will surely visit us - He promised to make our father Avraham a great nation, the day will come when we will be free!" Hananiah could not bring himself to berate the old man like his father, "His ravings don't really do any harm, but those days are long gone. We have been the Egyptians' slaves for years beyond count ... it is useless to dream about legends from the ancient past ..."

The ancient past - more than 600 hundred years earlier1 an exasperated and childless Abraham had pleaded with the Lord for some sort of assurance that the promises he received would come to pass. In a vision he was told that an heir would come from his body but also that his descendants would be afflicted in a strange land for 400 years. At the appointed time The Lord would bring them out with great possessions and give them the land of Canaan. Abraham had to wait 25 years for the promise of an heir to be realized. That is a long time, and we applaud Abraham for his faith. Abraham's descendants had to wait over 600 years, 400 of them in servile bondage.

I Have Remembered My Covenant

Imagine the scene when Moses showed up to proclaim God had heard their groaning and had come to deliver them. What would young Hananiah have been thinking? "Maybe, Grandpa was right all along!" I am not sure Hananiah's father, Uriel would have been convinced, but what happened when Moses met with Pharaoh would have put him over the top: So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, "You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'" (Exodus 5:1-8)

"Not only is Abba driving me crazy with his pipedreams - now we have this meshugenah, Moshe making matters worse." Moses agreed, "Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have you delivered Your people at all." (Exodus 5:22, 23) Adonai had made a tremendous declaration - now was the time to activate the promise He had made by covenant to Abraham. He had told him his descendants would be enslaved for 400 years and the fullness of time had come. Moses and Uriah need not have worried; 600 years is a long time but no amount of time can erode the power of God's covenant. To a perplexed Moses the Lord replies, "I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. Therefore say to the children of Israel: 'I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.'" (Exodus 6:5, 6)

When Abraham asked how he would know he would inherit these things, the Lord not only informed him of what the future held, He "passed between those pieces", The Maker of heaven and earth bound Himself by imprecation, symbolically declaring, "may it be to me as these dismembered offerings should I fail to honor the terms of this covenant" 2 - no amount of time, no power of any earthly king, not even the weakness of a beaten down population of slaves, nothing and no one could stop the Word of the Lord from coming to pass - He had remembered His covenant.

With an outstretched arm and mighty judgments the Lord fulfilled His promise, "And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years3 -- on that very same day -- it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:41)

He Will Remember

Covenant promises are like that, sometimes they take a while but they always come to pass. What of Anna and Simeon? They too waited and waited "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5) "For while we were still helpless, at the right time, the Messiah died on behalf of ungodly people." (Romans 5:6 CJB)

Noted American Rabbi, Irving Greenberg commented, "The freeing of slaves testified that human beings are meant to be free." 4 The liberation of slaves is a powerful prophetic sign. Passover began a liberation that through liberated Israel has now extended to all people, those "still helpless", set free by Yeshua's death and resurrection. There remains a further liberation to come, not all bondages are yet broken. All creation is waiting for our deliverance "into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Romans 8:21) The whole of creation still groans under bondage longing to be free.

We have been waiting now, not 600 hundred, but 2000 years for this promise to be fulfilled. From our perspective, 2000 years is a long time, but the promise of Yeshua's liberating return is sure. If Adonai bound Himself by imprecation to fulfill His covenant promise to Abraham to bring out his descendants from bondage, how much surer is the promise guaranteed by Him who became "a curse for us"? (Galatians 3:13) The children of Israel had been slaves for generations; the promises to their forefathers were distant memories that appeared to have no bearing on their present slavery or their future prospects for freedom. In the fullness of time, at the right time, according to the purposes of heaven, Adonai "remembered the covenant" and sent Moses to be their deliverer. 2000 years? It may seem that the "promise of His coming" is no closer than it was since "the fathers fell asleep" but as Peter reminded us, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promises" (See, II Peter 3:3-10).

This Passover, after we rehearse the exploits of our deliverance from Egypt, as the Seder draws to a close we will drink the 4th cup. Before we do so, we recite the Haggadah's familiar words, "Our redemption is not yet complete." As you take the cup, remember, just as sure as Adonai heard the children of Israel's groanings and kept His promise to Abraham to bring his descendants out of Egypt, so He hears the groans of creation together with the groanings of the Holy Spirit's intercession on our behalf (Romans 8:22-26). He will remember His covenant; the deliverer is coming to bring us into "the glorious liberty of the children of God."

1. Abraham received the vision of what was to come (Ge. 15:13), sometime before his 86th birthday, Jacob would have been born at least 75 years later. Jacob was 130 years old when he went down to Egypt - a total of at least 205 years since Genesis 15. Israel remained in Egypt 430 years to the day since they arrived (Ex 12:41). From Genesis 15:13 to Exodus 12:41 was a span of at least 635 years.
2. See, Jeremiah 34:18
3. According to Genesis 15:13, the first 30 years would have been years of blessing and favor.
4. Greenberg, Irving. The Jewish Way (NY, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1988) p.35

By Marty Shoub
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15:13 29Mar11 Armando Gutierrez -
This only confirms what has been in my heart of late concerning intercession with groaning and how all of creation is doing just that. Because it wants to be free as well. Prayer what an awesome thing it is;and what an amazing God of promise!

Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Daniel Juster: Revolution in the Arab World
Eitan Shishkoff: Awakening
Asher Intrater: Law of Perspective
Andrew and Shani: Our Wedding