Psalm 103 – Moses

Psalm 103:6 He (the Lord) made known His ways to Moses and His deeds to the people Moses_Pleading_with_Israelof Israel. (NIV)

My study note on this verse was – Why not Abraham or Jacob/Israel? That was several years ago but as I began to study Psalm 103 that question nagged me again. Why did God wait to show “His ways” to a man? Why Moses and not the Father of Faith – Abraham or Jacob, Joseph, or Judah?

Why did David single out Moses as having been shown the “ways of God?” I mean Abraham had gotten a promise and a covenant from God and had been shown favor so why Moses? I am going to digress here a moment and think about the relations these men had with God. In Exodus 6: 2- 5 God said that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Him as El-Shaddai (the God who pours out His riches because of His grace) thinking about these men they were blessed. Yes, they were tested, had trials and even messed-up but they were blessed because of God’s grace. However, in the same verses, God said He had not shown them the Jehovah (the One Who promised them deliverance because of His divine control) side of His nature. This part was for Moses and the children of Israel to experience.

Both Abraham and Moses experienced visits with God. In Genesis 12:7, 17:1, and 18:1 God “appeared” to Abraham; at first I thought of a vision like he had in chapter 15:1. But according to Strong’s Concordance “appear” carries the context of something literally seen. Moses also had “visits” in the burning bush (Exodus 3), the heavenly dinner party (Exodus 24), and the times in the cloud on the mountain.

Both men had conversions with God but it seems that Moses wrote things down while Abraham passed things on orally. Before the event that is talked about in Psalm 103, which is Exodus 33:13, Moses had written a Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24: 7).

So now to the question as to why God’s ways were revealed to Moses – Moses asked! Exodus 33:13 records the conversation Moses had with God. The NIV states it this way, The Path“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know You.” The context here is important because in verse 12 Moses is talking about leading the people. “Ways” means a highway or well-traveled path so with a little play on words Moses is asking for two things in this passage – physical direction and spiritual knowledge. (See study on Paths and Ways). A lesson here for leaders, you need to ask to know God’s ways.

Salem or Sodom – After

While reading Genesis 13,14, and 15 for the Salem or Sodom series this idea started to stand out, Abram did things and “after” they were done new things opened for him. Actually “after” seems to be a theme in Abraham’s life but I will start with the Sodom story. Genesis 13:14, 14:17, and 15:1 all have an example of “after.”

Genesis 13:14 Lot has finally left Abram and went east to the Jordan River valley in order to separate what must have been a large camp of shepherds. Lot and Abram were living in the highlands between Bethel and Ai along the main highway that ran north to south in the country. Abram gave Lot his choice and he went to the lowlands and eventually pitched his tents outside of Sodom. Abram in chapter 12 had received two promises but “after” Lot left God’s message was to physically go claim his promise. He left Luz (Bethel) an area of springs and probably almond trees (luz = almonds) and went south past Salem to Hebron to live by an ally.

Genesis 14:17 is the second “after.” Abram has just rescued Lot when Bera comes out of hiding and tries to influence him but God sent Melchizedek king of Salem to support Abram. Abram chooses God and gets blessed, tithes, and puts the king of Salem in his place. Even though Bera got the people and the goods it is very possible that Abram’s speech made him an enemy.

Genesis 15:1 is the last “after” in the Sodom story. This one could be placed in Hebron and if Josephus’ telling of the story is correct God is reassuring Abram that He will reward him. This is where a son is promised to Abram and he and God do a blood covenant. (That bloody scene of walking between animals cut in half is how a covenant was cut. Basically, if you break covenant this is what happens to you.) I just wonder if Abram was thinking about the kings he had defeated and the ones he may have insulted.

With these examples of “after,” Abram does something and God has an increase for him. Many times we as Christians have to “step out the boat” before we find God has already prepared the situation and us for us to get a blessing.

Some of the other “afters” in Abraham’s life is found in Genesis 18 when God says he will instruct his household that will come and chapter 22 and his testing with Isaac.

Salem or Sodom – Bera, King of Sodom

Bera may be the most audacious person in the Bible! He is also a type and shadow of the devil. First, he is a king who allowed and possibly encouraged his people to sin. He then takes part in a rebellion against his overlord with the other rulers of the Valley of Siddium. They lose to the coalition lead by Kedorlaomer. The kings with the armies go hide in the hills while their families and towns are looted. The rout and panic of his army were so bad they were falling in tar pits. Then he expects to get his stuff/people given back to him! (Genesis 14)

Abram and his friends come in and save the day, and are traveling back toward Salem probably heading to his village. Out of the hills/hiding come Bera and meets Abram in the Valley of Shaveh or king’s valley, which is identified as the valley near Jerusalem. (The only other mention of a king’s valley in the Bible is in 2 Samuel 18:18 in a reference to Absalom.) I am sure there are a lot of ways to look at the goods Abram recovered, but it is possible that not all of it belonged to the Jordan River valley kings. So Abram could have made claim to everything he had just won and really who was going to take it from him, the kings who had just lost it! So Abram honors the Lord and gives a tithe to Melchizedek. I think the wicked king was getting nervous about losing so much stuff with no chance of getting it back. To curb the flow of goods Bera asks/claims the people, so Abram tells him what is going to happen and why. The nerve of that guy to be asking or claiming anything is unbelievable. But one thing is for sure, Salem brought the party and Sodom brought nothing.

Bera, just like the devil, knows people are more valuable than goods. The riches could have been a distraction for Abram because once you have all of that stuff you have to fight to keep it and Bera would have had more people.

The lesson to be learned here is what Bera/the devil does to a Christian in a fight. Abram had gotten a victory and probably was just hoping for some quiet time. But out comes someone to congratulate you on the victory. Many times that person will be a distraction from what you need, which is what Melchizedek brought, something to refresh and strengthen you. We Christians usually equate the bread and wine with communion but the truth is Melchizedek was throwing a party (feeding) for the victor because they were tired. Abram wisely discerned that Bera and the goods were not the reason he went to battle, that was to get his family back and that mission was accomplished. Bera lost everything, hid while someone else got the job done, and still claimed he was owed something.

The Bible and Science – Kinetic Energy

Genesis 22:2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. (NIV)

Kinetic energy is known as the energy of movement; its formula is K.E. = ½mv2. The potential_kineticimportant thing is the velocity (speed); even something small can have a lot of energy if it is moving. If you look at the formula the speed you move with doesn’t just double it increases exponentially so 7 does not become 14 it becomes 49.

I am sure that Abraham had a lot of thoughts that night but what did he do; he started moving!

∞Jesus, thank You that You increase our energy as we move to the sound of Your voice.

The Lord my/your God

Have you ever noticed in the Old Testament who claims God as their Lord?  We know Balaam as the guy who had a donkey talk to him to refocus his thinking; even that did not help him by the end of his story. In Numbers 22:18 Balaam, son of Beor, claims the Lord as his God when he is talking to the princes of Moab.  This is pretty amazing since he clearly was not an Israelite. In Numbers 22:5 it says his native land was near the River (Euphrates).  According to verse 6, the king of Moab credits him with the blessing of Abraham. How? My best guess is he was a grandchild of Abraham from his third wife – Keturah (Gen. 25: 1) or he was a descendent of Edom (Esau) because he is a “son of Beor” (Genesis 36:32); remember Abraham was a man who would teach his children about God (Genesis 18:19). Balaam knew God and could talk with Him, but he still became a “seed type #2” in Luke 8: 13.

King Saul after an amazing call to be king. Enjoyed many victories that clearly had come from God. He even had Samuel, the prophet for his tutor. Saul reached a point when he becomes a “your God” person.  After a great victory against the Amalekites, he forgets God and surrenders to fear and greed.  When Samuel confronts King Saul about his disobedience in 1 Samuel 15:15 King Saul says that the cattle were for sacrificing to the Lord your God.  Why not say the Lord our/my God? It is a shame that his thinking and his words showed that even though he had known the Lord he stopped claiming Him as his God; he became “seed type #3” in Luke 8:14.

(see LORD vs. Lord)