January 7 - Moses

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January 7 - Moses

Moses was named by the Pharoah’s daughter who lifted him from the water.  His name means ‘rescuer from the water’ in Hebrew (she knew he was a Hebrew child).  Many of the stories about Moses are familiar. He killed an Egyptian overseer and ends up fleeing because of it.  When he arrives in Midian, he marries Zipporah and has two sons.  This should be more than enough for the story of one man’s life, but Moses has hardly begun.

Moses encounters God in a burning bush and after great discussion, returns to Egypt to bring the Israelites out of slavery and to the land that was promised to them.  Through this conversation, we learn the true name of God – Yahweh.  Moses confronts Pharaoh, pronounces the plagues on Egypt when Pharaoh refuses to release the people and finally leads Israel through the Red Sea as they escape slavery.

Nearly a year into their trek across the desert, they camp at Sinai and the covenant that was set forth with Abraham and affirmed in Isaac is now set forth in a formal covenant.  Israel’s obligation goes beyond circumcision to following and obeying God’s Law as given to Moses.

Aaron, Moses’ brother, builds a golden calf … the people need to worship something and God is furious!  He threatens to wipe out all of Israel and begin again with Moses.  Moses doesn’t want that, smashes the tablets of the covenant, orders the idolaters killed and starts all over with God.

The tabernacle is designed and built, so that Yahweh can travel with the people and the set out once again.

Whining, complaining and rebellion seems to describe the Israelites who can not seem to comprehend the incredible gifts they have been given – freedom, food to eat, water to drink and the opportunity to settle in a land where they will prosper.  They frustrate Moses and they frustrate God and when it seems that they should be at the end of their journey, they have created so much havoc that God declares those who were rebellious will not see the promised land and so they wander forty years.

Moses appoints Joshua to lead the people into the Promised Land, delivers a final address (basically the entirety of Deuteronomy – a rather long final address), dies and is buried by Yahweh.

Moses is seen as one of the greatest leaders in Jewish history, but he was as flawed as anyone.  His faith wavers, he is never consistent in his obedience to God and he really doesn’t want to lead the people of Israel.

But, Yahweh called him and gave him the tools by which to set forth with His children.

Moses walked with God.