I finished the book of Exodus this morning. In the grand scheme of things that’s not a big accomplishment. However, there were several things I noticed this time through the book that I had not paid that much attention to before. Things like Israel’s misconception of what it means to have a “god”; Aaron’s escaping punishment for his role in the golden calf episode; the ordination of the priests through killing members of their own family and the incomprehensible weight of the tabernacle constructed in the desert.
In addition, with the closing words of the book, the author is sure to point out that “Moses did everything just as the LORD had commanded him.” These are strong words and carry a weight of their own that must not be ignored. The people were suspect in their obedience to God, but Moses was in a position to be above suspicion at least up to this point.
Many of us on the pilgrimage called faith struggle mightily to be obedient in most things let alone everything. We find ourselves in the midst of self-imposed floggings for not being in the center of God’s will at all times. We fret over what it is that keeps us from “perfection” and evidencing the fruit of the Spirit. We push ourselves to more and more intricacies of spiritual discipline hoping that the right combination will set us free and allow us to relax in the presence of God – or should I say God’s presence in our lives.
Moses appeared unencumbered by those types of personal devotions and pursuits. He simply obeyed God. I say “simply” but there is nothing simple about it. He stood in the presence of the Almighty and heard His words and saw His fire. For most rational beings, there would be little else to do except to obey. You don’t willfully disobey that kind of Presence. You may misunderstand things and act impulsively a time or two, but it is not out of disobedience as much as it is zealous faith.
I fear that sometimes we make God too personal. He don’t allow his otherness to permeate our hearts and minds. We often ignore or fail to appreciate His “heaviness.” Moses did not seem to have that shortcoming. He knew full well the kabod of YHWH. He did not find speaking of God something to take lightly. He did not see his regular trips to the “tent of meeting” as a ritual or Sunday morning habit. It was personal for him and yet infinitely more about God than about Moses.
I have a tendency to make my faith more about me than about God. It’s more about what I can do for God instead of how God’s presence can transform me. I step almost flippantly into the chamber of the Almighty when I should be treading with special awareness of His glory and come shoe-less for the ground beneath me is holy ground.
Moses did as commanded by God. I do and ask God to bless it.
Yes, there were new insights for me this time around in The Book of Exodus but none more important than those words, “Moses did everything just as the LORD had commanded him.”