Watched by the Lord

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Exodus 12:31-42

It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. (v. 42)

When the Lord God formed his covenant with Abraham, he promised, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions” (Gen. 15:13-14).

Four hundred years is a long time to wait. God’s people could easily have concluded that the Lord was forgetful or in error. But as the 400-year wait comes to its end, the Lord commands Israel to observe an annual vigil. Why? Because the Lord kept vigil for 400 years. He watched while they waited.

Our lives are punctuated by times of waiting: waiting to graduate, waiting for a first job, waiting to find love, waiting for children, waiting for healing. Sometimes the waiting feels interminable; sometimes our waiting seems unrequited. Has God forgotten? Has God failed us? God invites his people in every time and place to think of waiting not as wasted time, but as watchfulness. We wait patiently, trusting God to complete his good work. Times of waiting are prescribed by God and serve his redemptive purposes. As God’s chosen people, claimed through Jesus Christ, we remember that whenever we wait, our gracious Lord watches over us. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, ask for patience as the Lord pursues his purposes.