I started reading this morning and thought, “Oh, I know this story.”
Exodus 6:29-7:7Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
(iii) 29 he said, “I am Adonai. Tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt, everything I say to you.”
30 Moshe answered Adonai, “Look, I’m such a poor speaker that Pharaoh won’t listen to me.”
7 But Adonai said to Moshe, “I have put you in the place of God to Pharaoh, and Aharon your brother will be your prophet. 2 You are to say everything I order you, and Aharon your brother is to speak to Pharaoh and tell him to let the people of Isra’el leave his land. 3 But I will make him hardhearted. Even though I will increase my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my armies, my people the sons of Isra’el, out of the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment.5 Then, when I stretch out my hand over Egypt and bring the people of Isra’el out from among them, the Egyptians will know that I am Adonai.”
6 Moshe and Aharon did exactly what Adonai ordered them to do. 7 Moshe was eighty years old and Aharon eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Silly me. I forgot that the Torah of God is alive and active. It is always in the present tense. So as I read ‘the same-old-story’ a few of things occurred to me.
First, Adonai put Moses in the place of God to Pharaoh. Pharaoh was considered a god, so whether we read the word as ‘god’ or ‘lord’ or ‘judge’, the Lord lifted Moses above Pharaoh in authority. By keeping this in mind, I see a confidence in Moses that I didn’t see before.
Second, Moses wasn’t surprised that Pharaoh kept rejecting the idea of letting the people go. Why? Because God told him that was how it was going to play out.
Third, God called his people, the sons of Israel, ‘my armies’. What stands out to me is that here they were, slaves of Egypt – POWs if you will – and God said he was pulling them out of there.
What is interesting is that he did this with judgement. This is what he does with us. We are his creation, the work of his hand. We were captured by the enemy; enslaved in sin. God came and judged the wickedness in us. He took that judgement on himself and set the captives – the POWs – free.
As I think about Israel’s encampment in the desert, I realize they truly are an army – an army led by the Most High; an army to shine God’s light in this dark world. I think about how we are grafted into Israel’s army, to join them in lighting up the world with the light of Messiah – that primordial light that exploded on the darkness – who was, and is, and is to come!