And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about (cared about, attended to, sought, missed) them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. Exodus 4:31 (NIV)
When I read this I thought immediately about the women at the jail we visit. Unstoppable tears stream down their faces as they realize somebody cares about them, God cares and has not forgotten them in their misery. The Hebrew word translated “concerned about” here is paqad – פָּקַד. It means to care for, attend to, be concerned for, but, wonderfully, it also means to seek, look about for, to seek in vain, miss, lack. It means to number or muster the troops, or to be missing from the number or muster. When Saul mustered the troops (1 Samuel 14:17) Jonathan and his armor bearer were missing (paqad). Jonathan told David he would be missed (paqad) from the dinner table (1 Samuel 20:18).
Isn’t that amazing? God missed the Israelites. And when they heard, in their misery and slavery, that the Lord cared about them, was looking for them, missing them, they bowed down and worshiped. God is concerned about you, cares about you, seeks you. If you have wandered far away, he misses you. If you have gotten yourself stuck in a prison and slavery to sin, he has not forgotten you. He wants you in the muster of the great army of God. He wants you there at the banquet table with him. He is always missing, seeking, caring about you.
What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. Matthew 18:12-13 (NIV)
He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food. Job 36:16 (NIV)
Image in the Public Domain from the Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/matpc/item/mpc2010007606/PP