From my daily Bible reading:
“After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them.” — Exodus 2:23-25 NRSV.
“God remembered his covenant. God’s covenant is God’s engagement; he had promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give their posterity a land flowing with milk and honey, &c. They are now under the most oppressive bondage, and this was the most proper time for God to show them his mercy and power in fulfilling his promise. This is all that is meant by God’s remembering his covenant, for it was now that he began to give it its effect.”
“The farther we proceed in the sacred writings, the more the history both of the grace and providence of God opens to our view. He ever cares for his creatures, and is mindful of his promise. The very means made use of to destroy his work are, in his hands, the instruments of its accomplishment. Pharaoh orders the male children of the Hebrews to be thrown into the river; Moses, who was thus exposed, is found by his own daughter, brought up as her own son, and from his Egyptian education becomes much better qualified for the great work to which God had called him; and his being obliged to leave Egypt was undoubtedly a powerful means to wean his heart from a land in which he had at his command all the advantages and luxuries of life. His sojourning also in a strange land, where he was obliged to earn his bread by a very painful employment, fitted him for the perilous journey he was obliged to take in the wilderness, and enabled him to bear the better the privations to which he was in consequence exposed.
“The bondage of the Israelites was also wisely permitted, that they might with less reluctance leave a country where they had suffered the greatest oppression and indignities. Had they not suffered severely previously to their departure, there is much reason to believe that no inducements could have been sufficient to have prevailed on them to leave it. And yet their leaving it was of infinite consequence, in the order both of grace and providence, as it was indispensably necessary that they should be a people separated from all the rest of the world, that they might see the promises of God fulfilled under their own eyes, and thus have the fullest persuasion that their law was Divine, their prophets inspired by the Most High, and that the Messiah came according to the prophecies before delivered concerning him.”
“Afflictions, under the direction of God’s providence and the influence of his grace, are often the means of leading men to pray to and acknowledge God, who in the time of their prosperity hardened their necks from his fear. When the Israelites were sorely oppressed, they began to pray. If the cry of oppression had not been among them, probably the cry for mercy had not been heard. Though afflictions, considered in themselves, can neither atone for sin nor improve the moral state of the soul, yet God often uses them as means to bring sinners to himself, and to quicken those who, having already escaped the pollutions of the world, were falling again under the influence of an earthly mind. Of many millions besides David it may truly be said, Before they were afflicted they went astray.”
— Comments by Adam Clarke (1760-1832).