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.

El-Shaddai

“I Am Who I Am” was God’s answer to Moses when he asked about what to call Him. In the footnotes in my NIV it says that, “Lord (Yahweh) sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for I Am (Exodus 3:14). Then in verse 15 He says that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (why not Israel) and then says that is how He wants to be remembered. “God” here is Elohim.  Now I do want to say that it depends on your concordance as to exactly how some of these names are listed; my Strong’s is slightly different than my NIV Concordance.

A generic name for god is “el.” So if you are reading and a name has “el” in it like Israel or Bethel you know it has something to do with a god or God. According to the Vine’s Dictionary in the ancient world it was thought that if you knew a deity’s name that would give you a special “in” with that deity. Nice to know that humanity has not changed much some people still think that they can manipulate God.

The verse that actually started this study was Exodus 6: 2+3. Moses is “pointing out” all of the trouble that the Children are having but God sees it as the opportunity He needs for their deliverance. In the verse He says that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew Me as God Almighty (El-Shaddai) but they did not know Me as Lord (Yahweh). Vine’s talks about how scholars relate this phrase (El-Shaddai) to the power of mountains. In Psalm 80 they also had a “God Almighty” but there it is Elohim Saba. So you may need to look for exactly which phrase it is that is being used and I can tell you that the translation you read may handle these phrases just a little different.

In researching I found this website which maybe helpful to you: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/El/el.html

So what name do you know God as or what name has He made Himself known to you?