January 17, 2023 - Exodus 1-6
Something a little different, today. A number of years ago, I offered various thoughts from these chapters in Exodus about likely contemporary responses to these stories. I think my thoughts were timely, then, and that they are timely, now.
“When [Moses’ mother] could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank” (2:3). – Probably would be arrested and jailed for child endangerment.
“During those many days . . . the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help” (2:23). – Surely, no divine assistance can be looked for. Maybe the government can help?
“And the angel of the Lord appeared to [Moses] in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed” (3:2). – Moses must be smoking something. Hallucinating.
“Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’” (3:11) – Still hallucinating. Also evidence of very low self-esteem. Maybe a highly paid psychologist/counselor could help.
Powerful signs: the staff that becomes a serpent and Moses’ hand that becomes leprous (ch. 4). – Nonsense! Nothing but myth and story.
God to Moses: “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, . . . ‘Let my son go that he may serve me.’ If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son” (4:23). – God is love! He would never do such a thing.
“Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, ‘Why do you treat your servants like this?’” (5:15) – Government knows best.
“Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians . . . I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession’” (6:8) – Israel has no right to that land!
Of course, Moses’ mom saved his life. And Israel’s true help came from the Lord. And the burning bush was a miracle. And a modern-day, highly paid mental health specialist would have been useless to Moses, as often is the case, today. Powerful signs, and one day, those skeptics will acknowledge God and his power. And, oh yes, God will act to protect his people and to punish her enemies. And, no, government often does more harm than good. And God indeed gave that land to Israel.
The great I AM has sworn;
I on this oath depend.
I shall, on eagle wings upborne,
to heaven ascend.
I shall behold God’s face;
I shall God's power adore,
and sing the wonders of God’s grace
forevermore. -- Daniel ben Judah (14th century)