Tuesday, July 10

Exodus 33.11 - Where's Yahweh?


Says that Moses & Yahweh spoke like a man and his friend, yet Moses has not seen the face of God. IS it literal when Yahweh says "you will see my back but not my face"? 


Moses' notes about seeing God’s “Back” is weird.  Since God is spirit (and way beyond us), and since He’s omnipresent, it’s hard to say much about that except that He seems to have presented a visual representation of part of Himself to Moses. 

Does God even HAVE a back?  Or a face, or a right arm, or any of those other things?  I don’t know … but He does use terms like that so that He can communicate to us.  Like us trying to explain something to a dog, God can’t really explain Himself to us because we’re just not capable of getting it all.   

In this case He seems willing to give Moses a treat, and Moses writes it down to let the people know that he had this special relationship. 

Something to Think About:

As you study through the bible, it’s interesting question to ask: “Where is God?”  We who believe in Him understand that He is omnipresent (everywhere at once).  But that’s hard for us to feel.  If you have ever felt distant from God, you know that it would be nice to know He is near you – personally. 

From Abraham until Moses, God was an invisible, nameless God … one of many gods worshiped by Israel.  But during the Exodus He reveals His presence in a special way.  First the burning bush, then the pillar of fire and smoke, then on Mount Sinai, and then finally He instructs Moses to build a tent just for God, and to put it in the middle of all the tents of Israel.  We call God’s tent “The Tabernacle.”  God’s “presence” moves into this tent from the mountain, and resides in the tent all the way to the Promised Land.  Then it’s not until Solomon becomes king of Israel that God gets a permanent house, instead of a tent: the Temple. 

When Jesus died, the curtain was torn, and the temple ceased to be God’s house.  Remember Jesus said he would “destroy this building and rebuild it in three days”? (John 2.19)  He was suggesting that from the moment of his resurrection until forever – the dwelling of God would be among men in a spiritual way.  Today we saints who have been born again are each described as “living stones” (1 Peter 2.5) that build up this true, final, spiritual temple (house) of God (1 Corinthians 3.17). 

So where is God today?  He is inside all those who have been sprinkled clean with the blood of the Lamb and who now have the Holy Spirit living inside us.  He is never far – He is with us everywhere we go.  

Exodus 32:32 God's book


Why would Moses ask to be blotted out of Yahweh's book?


Moses wasn’t really asking to be blotted out of the book, he was just exaggerating to make a point.  It was like he was saying, “If you’re not going to forgive them, then I don’t want to be forgiven either.”   It’s both a challenge, and a twist on the stuff Jesus teaches us about being forgiving as we want to be forgiven.  

But also … it’s Moses’ way of telling Israel something they didn’t know.  He could have gone his own way … but he stuck up for them.  It’s a theme of Moses’ life, from the time he first tried to get two Israelites to quit fighting each other, and all the way through.  Moses didn’t want his job, but since he had it, he was above all: faithful to try to keep Israel together and to help them get along and be saved.  It’s living out the teachings of Paul in 2 Corinthians 5.18-20

Exodus 17:9 ... Joshua = The Man


Where did Joshua come from? Was he just an Israelite that was with the rest of them? Was he being prepared for leadership? 


Yeah, Josh was a young guy at the exodus who became Moses’ apprentice.  (See Exodus 33.11, etc. )  
He was also one of the 12 spies, and then obviously became Moses’ successor.  

His name is ‘Hosea’ (salvation), but then Moses changed it to “Yehoshua” (Yahweh Saves) (Numbers 13.16), which in shortened form is: Yeshua … same name as our Lord, Jesus.  

Josh was the man.  Right up there with King Dave as one of the all-time best.  
He never left Moses' side ... was partway up Mount Sinai with him, and even was with him when he delivered his sermons in Deuteronomy.  

Exodus 7.11-13, 22; 8.19; 9.11 ... Magicians


Were the "magicians of Egypt" even aware of where their powers to do these things was coming from?


The Magicians of Egypt were just that – magicians.  Magic (secret arts) is creating an illusion.  It can be by the power of chemistry or optics or even Satan.  Their situation is interesting because they’ve been posing as men with godly powers for so long, they don’t know the difference between their tricks and the real deal – at least, not at first.  Watch how they change during the plagues – they get downright humble (7:22, 8:19, 9:11).  

Also … These are the guys referred to in 2 Timothy 3.8-9 as "Jannes & Jambres." Apparently the Hebrews had passed down oral versions of these stories for all those centuries, and included the names of the magicians who were made to look foolish, so that eventually "Their folly became evident to all."  Today we also have many people who claim super-powers ... but ultimately, upon close examination ... their folly becomes evident. 

Exodus 4.27-31 Moses & his brother, Aaron


Did Aaron actually do all the speaking and signs, if so, why did Yahweh involve Moses at all? Why wouldn't he go straight to Aaron? After all, we see Yahweh speaking directly to Aaron when he tells him to meet up with Moses. Also, at the beginning of Exodus, when Yahweh assured Moses that He would be with him and give him the words he needed, was Yahweh referring to Aaron? Or was Yahweh going to use Moses alone and speak through him, but when Moses kept arguing, Yahweh then finally said, "OK, fine, im sending Aaron because you are being stubborn."


Aaron was like “training wheels” for Moses.  Moses’ faith in God was so weak he used his speech impediment as an excuse to try to get out of his divine mission … and God reluctantly involved Aaron to bolster Moses’ wimpy faith.  It becomes clear later on that Moses is God’s guy and not Aaron.  Aaron fails several times.  Aaron might also have been a witness to the elders and Israel that Moses wasn’t just making this up about his calling from Yahweh. 

To see how Yahweh felt about Moses and Aaron, see this cool story in Numbers 12, when Moses marries a Cushite (Probably a black African woman).  When Aaron grumbles about Moses with their sister, here's what God says: 

“Hear now My words: If there's a prophet among you, I, YAHWEH, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream.  Not so with My servant Moses: He is faithful in all My household; with him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds YAHWEH's form. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?”  


Exodus 4.24 Bridegroom of Blood


In Exodus 4:24, why did Yahweh come to kill Moses? Is it true that it was because he & Zipporah did not circumcise their son? It just seems like such a random part to have in there, but I know it must have some purpose, otherwise it wouldn't be in there for us to read. 


The short answer is, I don’t know.  But here is my best speculation: 
It seems to be because they hadn’t circumcised their sons, a command given hundreds of years earlier to Abraham.  Maybe since Zipporah wasn’t Jewish, she didn’t know to do so, and God would have expected Moses to tell her … but it’s hard to say.  My feeling is that God was furious at Moses for giving Him such a hard time at the burning bush, and then Moses was going, but still not making things right.  

What’s interesting is that Moses wrote this down.  Remember he didn't write this to US ... it was written to the people Moses later led from Egypt.  So ... what was he trying to communicate to Israel?  That God was really serious about obedience?  Because if Moses hadn’t recorded the story, no one would have known it had happened.  I suspect Moses wanted them to know that even he had a hard time accepting Yahweh at first, and just like many in Israel ... he also hadn't even bothered to follow the "contract" (covenant/testament) God had made with their Father Abraham.  

Another thing to remember is that this is one of the first of many incidents where Israelite men married someone who was not Israelite.  God warned them that marrying 'foreign' women would cause them to be tempted to follow other gods.  Perhaps Israel was supposed to pick up on this as a warning, but of course they did not.  

First Post for Torah Blog

My fellow disciples ... this is the first posting here.  I hope eventually to have lots of your questions posted here, along with answers.  Do your study first at: http://www.godwor.com/torah.html ... where you'll find the introductory lessons to help you understand what you're reading.

As you work through that, you'll begin to have questions, which you can then post in a 'comment' section here (anyone will do) ... and then I'll get it as a comment ... and respond to it as a question.