Friday, September 6, 2013

The Cast; Moses, in Egypt

Jacob's Children in Egypt

From the time the Lord called Moses, to lead the children of Jacob out of Egypt, to the end of his life, Moses communicated with Him.  Moses was born to God-fearing parents and saved from death at the hand of Egypt’s king by Jehovah, the Lord of Israel. 

God had told Jacob that his offspring would be captives in Israel for four hundred and thirty years.  When that time neared its end, it was time for God to prepare a servant, one who would lead Israel to the land of Canaan.

Moses had spent forty years in Egypt learning their books and culture.  He also learned about the Jews and their captivity.  Then, of necessity, because he murdered someone, he fled to the wilderness and spent forty years there.  It was there that he became a shepherd and married.  

During that time, he became acquainted with the wilderness through which the Israelites would soon be passing; he needed to know it well.  From the time that the Jews entered the wilderness, it was another forty years before they could leave it again.  

The first time that the Lord appeared to Moses he said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Ex. 3:6.  It was an official introduction; until then Moses knew only the gods of Egypt.  

These words, by Jehovah, indicate again, that there is more than one god, but that Jehovah’s special interest is Israel.  He did not say, I am the God of the Persians, the Babylonians or the North American Indians.  They each have their own gods that look after them.  He is saying, You, the house of Jacob, are my personal project.  I made your fathers a promise, and now that I have remembered it again I am going to keep it.  In the Bible, it reads this way, God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham. Exodus 2:24.

After Moses had been a shepherd for forty years, the Lord told him to return to Egypt.  He told Moses to gather the elders of the Children of Israel and to tell them that the Lord had chosen him to be their leader.  Moses objected, saying that he could not speak well enough.  Then the Lord, in one of his temperamental moods, became angry with Moses and said that Aaron could speak for him.  The anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses. Ex. 4:14.  

It seems as if Jehovah held a grudge against Moses because of this.  We read later that Moses, his wife Zipporah and their son were travelling to Egypt to do the Lord’s will. They stopped at an inn for night, and the Lord met him at the inn and sought to kill him. Ex. 4:24.  Zipporah quickly circumcised their son and showed the Lord what she had done.  By doing this, she reminded the Lord of his promise to Israel and she also reminded Him, that He had better not kill Moses because Moses was the only one qualified to lead Jacob’s children out of Egypt. 

How is it the Zipporah had time to circumcise their son before Moses was dead?  If the Lord wants to kill someone, does he need time?  Were Moses and the Lord wrestling to the death?  It sounds like it.  We read, So he (the Lord) let him (Moses) alone. Ex. 4:24-26.  That is, they quit fighting and the Lord did not kill Moses.

Jacob's Children on the Move

When Jehovah, the God of the Israelites, wanted his chosen race to leave Egypt, he got together with Moses and Aaron and did things in Egypt that had never happened anywhere else before.  There were infestations of lice, frogs, locusts and water turning to blood; all of them were torture for Egypt.  However, Pharaoh was stubborn, as Jehovah had warned he would be.  He refused to let Israel go to worship the Lord in the wilderness.  Then, one day, when the Lord had just had enough of Pharaoh's stubbornness, He spoke to Moses and said, now is the time of beginnings. Ex. 12:2.  

A new year is starting and new things are going to happen to you and to my people.  I want all of my people to kill one lamb per family, if possible; they are to eat the meat, but above all, they must put blood on the doorposts and on the lintels.  Why?  Because it is the Lord’s Passover. Ex, 12:11.  

That is, the Lord will pass over the houses of the Egyptians and the Israelites in a UFO and, with an undefined blood detector, he is going to take readings of all the doorposts.  If the Lord’s blood detector does not reveal any blood on the doorposts the Lord will kill the firstborn of that house, whether Egyptian or Israelite.  If, in fact, this God of the Israelites knows everything, why did he need the technicality of actual blood on the doorposts?  Why not just let Jacob's offspring exercise faith, a faith that the Egyptians, apparently, did not have.  Could the Lord not have based his “killing mission” on the presence or absence of faith?  

The Lord himself said it is the LORD’S passover.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. Ex. 12:11-12.  The word, Passover, seems so expressive of the Lord passing over a nation's buildings, in some kind of flying machine.

The morning after that incident, the Hebrews started their forty-year journey.  The idea that there is only one God has come to us from the Hebrew’s assertion that they had only one God.  The writers did not deny that there were other gods, but they did keep on insisting that they, as a nation, had only one God.  In speaking of the plurality of the gods, Moses and the Israelites sang this song.  Who is like thee, O Lord, among the gods? Ex. 15:11  It is not surprising that the Jews felt this way about Him, for Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, had just finished delivering them out of the land of slavery.

To reiterate a verse already expressed, the Lord said, On all the Gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. Ex. 12:12.  He did not say, against the idols of Egypt nor did he say, against the beings worshipped as gods in Egypt.  He said, against the Gods of Egypt, and if they cross His path He will deal with them.  According to the Bible, He allowed for the fact that there are other Gods than He, but he will not tolerate His followers to pay homage to other gods, regardless of how insignificant they seem!

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