Seeing God in Diversity: Exodus and Acts
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Context of Exodus Last week's lectionary reading Exod is followed by another ritual which the Israelites are commanded to keep, that is, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. There is a second account of the Passover and the act of Yahweh which sound horrendous to us Exod and has to be understood in the world view of that time. It is not the way we believe God acts. The story continues with the flight from Egypt chased by the Pharaoh who had changed his mind once more because God has hardened his heart Exod ff.
The people have the first of their complaints to Moses because they think they will die in the wilderness and it would have been better to stay in Egypt. Moses speaks with Yahweh who basically says get on with it. We are told this whole episode will give glory to God because it shows the power of Yahweh over the Egyptian gods. The lectionary set for today takes us through the event after which there is a long hymn of praise Exod followed by Miriam's song of praise. She is described as Aaron's brother and a prophetess. As the Israelites journeyed into the wilderness they came across a spring of bitter water and once more complained against Moses.
Once more God answered their complaints Exod An interesting law suddenly gets put in at this point which decrees that if they are obedient to God they will suffer none of the diseases which God laid on the Egyptians.
Seeing God in Diversity: Exodus and Acts
They arrived at an oasis named Elim and camp there. The angel which has not been present since the burning bush now moves with them as does the pillar of cloud. The next two units, vv and tell the story of first, the Israelites path through the Red Sea and second, the Egyptians foray and disaster in the Red Sea. The final verses, vv.
The has been many discussions about the geographic position of the Red Sea and how it happened. I think these discussions are attempting to discuss an issue which is of no concern to the writers of the Hebrew Scriptures - whether it is historically true. The writers of the Hebrew Scriptures are intent on telling the story of God's relationship with Israel and how it developed and grew, within the realms of history, but not bound by the categories of Enlightenment views of history.
I talk about "historiography" which is the telling of particular events by groups of people which are of vital importance to their identity and ongoing life. In the case of Israel the focus is always on God and those events which mark the growing relationship. So it is unimportant about the precise location of the Red Sea or how it happened. What is crucial is for the people to know that God brought them out of Egypt and so began their journey to nationhood.
As Fretheim says, "it is witness to the power of Yahweh and a consequent summons to faith" Fretheim It was important that the two groups Israelites and Egyptians did not arrive at the same time. Then when it was morning the parting of the Red Sea occurred which involved three groups: God, Moses and the natural forces of creation.
God is both creator and redeemer in the events that follow.
Seeing God in Diversity: Exodus and Acts - Angela Bauer-Levesque - كتب Google
We note at this point the confession of the Egyptians who recognise that God is more powerful than their gods Exod Finally, the purpose of Moses' and Aaron's experience with Pharaoh and his courtiers, which was to demonstrate that Yahweh is more powerful than any of their magicians, has been recognized. This is the climax of Exod , that no matter how powerful are one's enemies Yahweh is even more powerful.
In our own time it is often in the time case of crisis that people call out to God to save them. The recognition that perhaps there is a divine being who is more powerful than mere humans.
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The final verses are a very profound theological creed: God saves, the people see and they believe. This is a major tenet of the Jewish faith that God's promises which began with Abraham in Gen are gradually coming to fruition and this event is crucial in the forming of them as a nation on the way to the promised land.
The New Interpreter's Bible is another very helpful resource and published in the late 's - is more up to date than some earlier works. Nashville: Abingdon, Childs, Brevard S. Serious enough that he witnesses a burning bush and has a chat with God. Now, this is the really interesting bit in the film. Scott chooses to abandon the booming divine voice of The Ten Commandments in favour of portraying God as a petulant pre-teen.
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Like Pharaoh Ramses, God throws tantrums, raises his voice, and acts out during moments of pique. Moses frequently tries to reason with Him, but to no avail. God has absolutely no concerns about inflicting a whole race of Egyptians with The Plagues, not only the privileged aristocrats who maintain the social status that so infuriates God, but the ordinary, poor Egyptians we witness sobbing over dead cattle and the corpses of their sons.
V. THE JOURNEY IN THE WILDERNESS TO SINAI
The Plagues are spectacularly CGId to life, with rivers of blood, frog and fly infestation and…er…alligators, impressively rendered, perhaps unsurprisingly given the enormous special effects budget. The most affecting scene is, of course, the deaths of the firstborn. A chillingly silent episode when the audience witnesses the death of child upon child, breaths extinguished with barely a sound as a shadow passes over them. Thrusting the tiny lifeless body of his infant son at Moses, Pharaoh Ramese expels the Israelites from Egypt and the exodus begins.
Moses leads his people to freedom and then, seemingly to a dead end: the Red Sea. They all camp out on the beach as our hero, wielding his trusty sword rather than a rod, worries that God has abandoned him and his people. Not a parting down the middle a la Cecile De Mille , but a tremendously convenient shifting of the tide, so that the Israelites cross not without some difficulty and the Egyptians, and Moses, are left to be enveloped by the crashing waves as the sea returns to normal.
Moses returns to Zipporah, who barely raises a beautifully groomed eyebrow when she discovers that her errant husband has brought scores of Israelites with him.
Mealtimes are going to become strategic events in the Moses household. In the final scene Scott cuts to a contented looking geriatric Moses, riding with the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are written.