Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Vulnerability of God

I want to begin today with a reflection on Moses' sense of justice.  This is actually a thought I had while reading yesterday's reading.  When the Israelites tested and quarreled with God, Moses named the place they were at Massah (Test) and Meribah (Quarrel) so that they would never be able to forget how they embarrassed themselves, or at least that's why I think he named the place Massah and Meribah.  When Moses caught the Israelites worshiping a golden calf and referring to it by the name of their God, he melted it down, ground it into powder, mixed it with water, and made the Israelites drink it.  I like Moses.  I like Moses' definition of fair.  Moses isn't perfect, but this is one thing about his personality I applaud.

That having been said, a word we may not associate with God is the word 'genuine.'  Maybe that's because it's a trait we usually associate with ourselves, and so the word genuine seems to human to be connected to God.  But, I am impressed by how genuine and vulnerable God chooses to be with Moses.  When God tells Moses to take the Israelites and go to Canaan without him, because if God went with them he would consume them on the way due to the fact that "you are a stiff-necked people," that probably sounds harsh to many.  That doesn't sound harsh to me; that sounds hurt.  God has been hurt.  He married himself to this group of people and they have rejected him over and over and over and over.  The golden calf broke his heart, and I don't think he's trying to hide this from Moses.  God chooses to be genuine and vulnerable with Moses.  He chose to speak to him (as Exodus states a few verses later) "face to face, as one speaks to a friend."  That tells us something about the nature of who God is and what God wants between himself and us.  He is not a dictator.  He is not Zeus hurling lightening.  He is a god that chooses to be vulnerable with his children, and talk to them as friends.

Stopping point: Exodus 33

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