Moses – You Returned!?

Moses the most humble man in the world, the friend of God who ate with Him and saw His back, the doer of miracles, and leader of the people of Israel. You would think with all of those credentials Moses must have been willing to be moldable clay in the hand of the Master Potter. Wrong! He had issues and the big one was he had some serious history with Egypt and did not want to go back. He had made a mess of things when he left and did not want to face the court of Pharaoh or the people of Israel. This story starts in Exodus 3 and 4.

This concept of going back somewhere you left is on my mind because for the first time in my career I am returning to a school district that I left thirteen years ago. I had not left a mess like Moses, but I never thought I would be returning either. To say that I am not questioning why would be an understatement. Like Moses, it means leaving a comfort zone and going back to something that has changed while you were gone. His wife Zipporah and his sons had to leave family and friends for an uncertain future.

Father God had given him some glimpses of the road ahead but not the mistreating of the people by the Egyptians, the plagues, or being chased by a determined army. God had given him some pretty convincing signs to do but there was no mention of the people being stubborn and rebelling.

In looking at the big picture (that is all I can do for now) this is what I see happening:

  • Moses was retrained
  • Moses knew he was to go and he went
  • God sent him help, in the form of Aaron
  • Moses had command of supernatural powers to do the job
  • Not everyone was excited by his return or his mission
  • God walked with Moses through his mission

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.

Noah and Moses

Trivia question!  What do Noah and Moses have in common?

A tebah, it is pronounced tay-baw.  It means, “box” and it is # 8392 in the Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary in the Strong’s Concordance. The King James translates this word into ark.  Noah and Moses are the only two people in the Bible to have a tebah.

Moses’ mother, Jochebed (Exodus 6:20), used slime, you gotta love King James, Moses036(chemar, #2564 – bitumen) in Exodus 2:3 to coat his ark (tebah.)  Chemar is used in two other scriptures: Genesis 11:3 (Tower of Babel) and Genesis 14:10 (Valley of Sodom).  Jochebed also used pitch (zepheth, #2203 – asphalt because it softens or liquifies in the sun).  The other two uses of zepheth are in Isaiah 34:9 where it foretells that Edom’s streams will be burning zepheth.

Noah had pitch (kopher, # 3724) to coat his ark, both inside and out (Genesis 6:14).  Noah's arkThis is the only place where kopher is used as that type of covering; the majority of its translations are our word ransom.  In Exodus 30:12 every Israelite in the census who “crosses over” is to redeem himself with a “half-shekel” or about 6 grams of money (It does not say if it was gold, silver, or copper.)  It was collected to service the Tent of Meeting.  In Isaiah 43:3 it is also used as the word ransom but here the “Savior of Israel” says He gave Egypt as your kopher.

I know what you are about to say, “What about the ark of the covenant?”  It is aron and it also means box and is translated ark, chest, and coffin (#727 in Strong’s).  ark of the covenantThe origin of this word carries the idea of “gathering.” Joseph was buried in an aron (Genesis 50:26) and Jehoiada the High Priest with Joash (2 Kings 12:9) made an aron to collect money to rebuild the Temple.

Final Thoughts:

  • I am sure that Noah and Moses’ tebah were rather plain and very functional whereas the aron’s were very fancy and well decorated.
  • It is a beautiful picture that Noah’s ark was coated in redemption, inside and out.
  • I am not sure what to think about the fact that the coating on Moses’ basket is associated with a sinful place (Sodom), judgment (Edom), and a structure built to glorify man over God (Babel).

The clipart is from http://clipart.christiansunite.com

The Exodus Story in Other Places

glory 1

People may argue parts of the Exodus story and how it could not have happened. But the fact that the story is retold throughout the rest of scripture should speak volumes about its validity and its credibility. (This may not be all of them but you get the idea.)

  • Gideon  – Judges 6:13 – Questioned about the miracles
  • Jephthah – Judges 11:15-27 – Retold conquest story
  • Micah 6: 1-5 – The Lord had a case against Israel and highlighted the Exodus to prove his point.
  • Ezekiel 20:4 – God giving a discourse to the elders of Israel about their love for idols of Egypt even though He brought them out of Egypt and gave them a good land.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:4 – Spiritual lesson about Israel being baptized into Moses and Israel sharing spiritual food and drink and still some died in the desert.
  • Moses’ Psalms 90 -100 – I still think they are a series of songs to teach the people about God and His requirements.

Psalms

  • 66: 5-12 A highlight telling of Israel’s time in Egypt and their leaving.
  • 77: 11-20 A call for Jeduthum to remember and meditate on the miracles of God; the parting of the Red Sea is the focus with what God did.

Just a thought, look at Psalm 78-83 as a block for teaching people after Jerusalem fell.

  • 78 A comparison of Israel’s testing God and His mercy and miracles.
  • 80: 7-11 A call to God to remember that He did bring Israel out of Egypt and to have mercy on them again.
  • 81:3-10 To remember that God brought Israel out of Egypt and established that He should be praised.
  • 95: 8-11 Not to harden your heart as people did at Meribah.
  • 105:16-45 A Sunday School lesson of Abraham, Joseph, the plagues and the joseph-dreams of wheatExodus.
  • 106 A history of God’s faithfulness in not destroying Israel starting in Egypt and going through the Conquest into the unfaithfulness in the Promise Land.
  • 114 It reminds Judah who they belong too and that mountains, hills, and the “waters” obey the Lord.
  • 135:8-14 That man (Egypt, Pharaoh, Sihon, Og, and the kings of Canaan) will not stop God’s people.
  • 136:10-22 Resembles Ps. 135 

Picture of Sheaves from http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/joseph-dreams/

My Start to Out of Egypt

Moses_Pleading_with_Israel

I guess I am marking this as the beginning of writing Out of Egypt. I have been tagging things for a while “Out of Egypt” especially the Tribes of Israel study. My thought there was if you are getting out of Egypt, a look at how you got in may not hurt.

As I have been collecting thoughts on this I realized that there are a lot of movies and TV shows on Moses and the Exodus. To go with all of the shows there is no end of opinions and arguments about how it happened or could not have happened. Even TV shows that seems like they are documentaries supporting the Exodus always have at least one area where they can’t go with the Biblical account. This is still possibly one of the more supportive; The Exodus Decoded by Simcha Jacobovici but even this one tries to relegate some of the miracles to natural events. These websites take the show to task on various subjects.

1. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2006/09/debunking-the-exodus-decoded.aspx 2.  http://www.catholic.org/ae/tv/review.php?id=20866  I like what this site says,” In trying to find a “plausible scientific explanation” for Biblical events, the film misses a very important point: The Bible is a testament of faith, not a history or science book, written by authors who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, were trying to discern and understand God’s hand in the drama of salvation.”

Lately the focus has shifted to Moses; one recently talks about him as a military leader. I did not get the name, but I hope to see it replayed again. Its focus was on Moses as leader and offered what he did as natural, and took the miraculous out of the Exodus story. It tried to paint the picture that Israel were not just slaves before the Exodus. These websites do deal with some of these possibilities: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0009_0_09361.html and http://www.northforest.org/BiblicalArchaeology/moses.html . It should be clear that if Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s house he would have had military training and the Camp Order is supposedly an Egyptian battle formation. My thoughts about Israel in Egypt were changed when I read about Ephraim’s sons being killed in a raid in 1 Chronicles 7:21; maybe they were not just quite shepherds.

One website that is Christian based and deals with the Red Sea crossing site is http://www.wyattmuseum.com/red-sea-crossing-02.htm but it definitely does not go along with many current avenues of thought.

I am going to agree with the Catholic website; I am not looking for a “plausible scientific explanation.” He is a miraculous God and we, as His children need to celebrate that fact. I feel we have made many of His miracles into “common kid stories” and not taught them as fact like they really are. I am glad when there is an explanation for how God has used His creation to bless His children, but God is still God and if He wants to do an extraordinary act outside of His laws of nature that is fine with me.

Moses picture: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Moses_Pleading_with_Israel_(crop).