23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.
The tyrant Pharaoh passed away, but the new king continued the same oppression of the Israelite people. I can only imagine how discouraging it must have been for the Israelites to see their bondage continued under a new master, for the persecution persisting from one generation to the next established a pattern, one that would crush any expectation for it to ever be repealed by a decree of man. Thus, the Israelites only remaining hope would be in an act of God.
And so, in verse 23, we hear how they raised their cry to the heavens, and God, we are told, heard them and “had respect unto them.” Of course, the fact that He had respect to them may not have been appreciated at the time. It was likely only afterward, in hindsight, that the people came to appreciate how God was already putting together His plan of deliverance. How often do we also cry to the Lord, wondering why He seems slow to respond, when really His other hand is already preparing our salvation?