A simple connection from reading through the Exodus story last night with the kids. This is the 4th-5th time we have read through this, and they are attending CBS at a local church who is going over Exodus and Leviticus. I wanted to walk through this with them in parallel for many reasons:
- I don’t like them getting programmed with christian theology and dogma, especially when it comes to Torah.I want to make sure they have a framework of understanding Torah on it’s own.
- It is easy to be in autopilot about the key stories in scripture, and Exodus contains tons of them. The exodus itself is a foundational piece of faith, but it is easy to forget many of subtle pieces that get summarized.
- We just finished going through Samuel and Kings, and needed to go on to something again.
But the reality is, reading the same stuff over and over can get boring. I do not believe Yah is boring, I believe we are. But reading over things you already generally know can get a bit dry. So we prayed. Real crazy, super profound idea. God please show us something hidden in here, please connect our hearts.
The start of the Moses Story is about his mouth
Something occurred to me as I was reading that connected 2 end points of Moses and his story.
The first is this simple phrase and part of the story that we know
12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”
YHVH got angry, and supposedly at Moses. However, I think if you look at all the possible interpretations, you find a few translations that don’t translate this as abject refusal, although the majority do translate it that way. Assuming the interpretation that Moses is basically saying “I don’t want to do this” and God is angry at him for refusing to obey (which in all real understanding God would have known in advance) there is an interesting pattern.
Moses has a problem with his mouth. And he is afraid, and he is standing in the presence of at least the angel of YHVH. Depending on your theology, YHWH AND this angel are there, or just the Angel of Yahweh. Inside a burning flame. Moses is ballsy in a sense, however we dont read him being overwhelmed like Daniel, or Solomon and the Israelites. There are other examples where the power and the glory of God Almighty or an angelic messenger are simply overwhelming. This isn’t a vision as far as we can tell, he has to remove his shoes. This is a literal interaction at a minimum with a messenger of Yah, or Yah itself. And the internal dialog leaks out, and Moses basically says “I can’t, please, no”.
Moses is not being forced to obey in a sense either. He isnt given any real outs, and isnt allowed to back out, but he does get help. But there isnt any sense of him being overwhelmed and forced to do this. We interpret that because of the anger mentioned about God. But it doesnt say the anger compelled him. It is a very odd exchange, and out of much pre-supposed character of God Almighty. God is Boss, do what God says. God angry is BAD because later God destroys people in anger.
The End of the Moses story is about his mouth (or lack)
At the end of Moses’s life, he is not allowed to go into the Promised Land. The explanation is because of his mistake in how he dealt with a direct command from Yah.
[Num 20:10-12 ESV] 10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”
Interestingly, he was supposed to speak this time. Just like at the beginning, when God tells him to go and speak and he doesnt want to, this time God tells him to speak, and he doesnt. And this time, he misses out on something quite special.
There are lots of reasons given for why. If I was leading 3 million people complaining at me all day (and sometimes trying to kill me) I would be sick and tired of everything. I would be out of patience before we left Egypt. I would have taken God up on his offer to start over with just me so I could have thing the way I want.
But isn’t it odd that on both occasions, the problem is Moses simply speaking what He is told? And he doesnt want to. His explanations in the beginning are saying he doesn’t speak well etc… and God give him someone to actually say it for him! He has all the provision he needs. Yet it isn’t enough. All Moses had to do is speak to the rock, and possibly it was Aaron who would have literally done all of the speaking. But Moses simply wont.
It sure seems like he got angry, and what he DOES SAY sure seems foolish “shall WE bring water for you out from this rock?”. WE? Meaning “Me and Aaron” or “Me and Yahweh” or something like that? This sure sounds like frustration, exhaustion, internal conflict all bubbling out. Just like at the start when his mouth finally just says “I dont want to, please send whoever else you like”.
- Moses seems to have a problem with anger in all his story. He kills an Egyptian early int he story. He rants at the Hebrews. It is all somewhat provoked, and I haven’t met many people who could stand a chance in these circumstances. But it certainly seems that while Moses is considered the meekest man who lived, he had frustration and anger bubbling around in there and it comes out impulsively.
- Moses is just a man, a human. He simply hit the wall. There is only so much capacity inherent in our own creation to bear up under the intensity of life, and Moses’s life wasn’t easy. He was born in conflict, hunted from birth, separated from family repeatedly, wandering around, resisted by the mission he was entrusted with, and had to mediate between a perfect and holy Sovereign and a group of abused and overwhelmed ex-slaves who couldn’t grasp the reality of what was going on.
- The Hebrews were kept from the Promised land by what they said in fear, Moses was kept out by what he DIDNT say.
- If YHWH is all knowing, then was his anger at Moses when he first said “send someone else” the cause of Moses not being allowed to go in later? We attach the punishment to the immediate verse, but in reality our God is outside of time.
- How is it possible YHVH is so completely powerful, yet Moses could so easily do a great job and be commended by Yah, and so easily miss it?
You could begin to wander all through the scriptures and look about words, mouth, obedience etc… and see patterns and wheels within wheels about this stuff. I can see how Yeshua takes it from here, and executes perfectly in key areas and executes the Word/Debar even better. I can see how the battle is over fear and frustration. I can see how there is simply not enough inside the human spirit to obey completely and execute in a way that communicated the Holy. And yet we also see how Yah is constantly using people, and succeeding. The plans of God are being accomplished in spite of what people are able to do.