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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who Is This Guy?

Say "Moses," and nearly every American over the age of 30 thinks "Charlton Heston." Thank you, Hollywood.

But who is Moses? He's a Hebrew, a Levite and the second born son in his family. He gets adopted by the Pharaoh of Egypt's daughter and reared as a prince. He's a murderer (kills an Egyptian guard whipping an Israelite) and a fugitive (flees to Midian where he meets a priest and marries his daughter). He's our second major hero who remains monogamous throughout his lifetime. He's a shepherd for a while.

Then God appears in a burning bush and everything goes crazy.

Moses argues with God about going back to Egypt to free the Israelites. Read it (Exodus chapter 3). He actually tells God he'd rather not go. How is it he didn't end up a crispy critter after that statement?

Moses becomes The Lawgiver (another Charlton Heston movie comes to mind - can you guess which one, my dear geek readers?), which is funny because it's God who actually gives the laws. Moses just repeats them.

Moses herds these 600,000 plus people out of Egypt into the Promised Land and puts up with all the ungrateful belly-aching that goes with them. He gets to wander the desert for the same 40 years they do. He gets to watch them die from snake bites, plagues, divine fire and earthquakes, and pretty much sheer stupidity throughout that time, and yet, he's the one who often seems to talk God out of destroying the Israelites completely.

Who is this guy?

Moses was the only one officially allowed to climb Mt. Sinai to see God and receive The Law, although the text says he took Joshua with him as his aide. Makes sense since Joshua becomes the leader after Moses. Before the tabernacle is built, God would meet with Moses in his tent. And Moses lives through it, time and again. At the time of his death, Moses is 120, strong in body and mind, and God takes his body away (probably to keep it from becoming a relic).

The Bible says God talked to Moses as to a friend. So, I guess the answer to the question is "Moses was God's friend."

With friends like that...

Just kidding. If I only get one friend, the Creator of the Universe is probably the best one to have.

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