OT: Ex. 4:1-5:21
I am still finding Moses extremely intriguing today. What makes that guy tick? How did the Action Hero become the Whiny, Do-Nothing? What happened there? Allow me to float a theory...
Being a man of action was something that Moses got "honest." Even his birth involved some derring-do. Like young Moses himself, his mom was not one to sit back and do nothing. She took risks, bucked the law, and took matters into her own hands regarding her son. Having some knowledge of that, and seeing how unique and privileged his life was, Moses probably assumed he was something special. He probably assumed that God had some big plans for him. After all, his placement in this world was nothing short of a miracle. Surely God had a hand in that!
And yet, when Moses tried to do something, it all blew up in his face. Nothing happened the way he thought it would, he was forced to flee, and he spent the next however-many years as a nobody in the desert. Basically, life as he knew it was permanently over (or so it seemed). Physically speaking, he was completely marginalized from all that was going on in Egypt. He was cut off, voiceless. Moses probably spent those years feeling very stupid that he had ever considered himself something special. He probably became hardened and cynical during those years, so much so that even the voice of God was met with his skepticism.
That's just a theory, of course. I love trying to figure out why people do what they do. Next to God, people are the most interesting things on this planet to me:). I will say that I, too, have been disappointed when I thought that God was going to do something really awesome, only to see His plan go in a disappointingly different direction. Whether it was to heal my brother, start a revival of the church, draw someone to Him, change someone's life, whatever...I have had all these visions of grandeur, only to be crushed when my hopes did not materialize. It takes faith to believe that God's plan is better than our own lofty daydreams. It takes faith to see how forty years (or whatever) of being a shepherd in the desert is better than intervening and fighting for your people.
I have also thought a lot about a very bizarre scene in this morning's reading. Why on earth did God appear to Moses on the way to Egypt, all ready to kill him? What was that about? I still don't really understand, but here is my best take. It says in verse 20 that Moses has "sons," plural. And yet, Zipporah only circumcises one son. It strikes me that Zipporah knows what circumcision is, she knows how to do it, and she knows that it is something that would appease God in this moment. Based on all that, I theorize that it was only the youngest son who was not circumcised. I think that by that point in his life (the point of his last son's birth), Moses was so hardened and cynical toward God that he had stopped circumcising. He was no longer participating in the covenant between God and the people of Abraham. And even after God appeared to him and talked to him, even after he started back to Egypt, he still had not circumcised his son. That makes it seem like he is not taking this whole thing incredibly seriously. Even after talking directly to God, he does not see the need to consecrate his family before God or to obey His command. And...I guess God got tired of that.
Again, that's just a random theory. Regardless, the grossness of spontaneous circumcision aside, I like stories about quick-thinking women who save their families:).
NT: Matt. 18: 1-22
I love the concept of having to become a like a little child to enter the Kingdom of heaven. I've always heard and assumed that it meant to have a child-like faith. I continually seek that.
I also find it interesting that I am so determined to take Jesus' words in the sermon on the mount strictly literally, and yet I still have my hands and eyes. Apparently, I don't take literally his admonition to blind myself to keep from sinning, just like I don't take literally his talk about moving mountains and hating my family. My picking and choosing seems a bit contradictory to me. I guess the reason I take the radical love stuff more literally is that Jesus' love was not a metaphor. It had a metaphorical dimension, sure, but the cross was real. And he really washed His disciples' feet. But still, I do see somewhat of a contradiction in my thinking there.
And I am also very happy that verses 15-17 and 21-22 are in the same passage because they highlight something that I find kind of confusing. In the first section, Jesus says to confront the one who has sinned against you, and if he does not repent, then you are to treat him as an outsider. The second passage, on the other hand, says to forgive someone up to 490 times. Hmmm....
This sounds wrong, but here is a thought I have on all that. We are to forgive people because God forgave us. Our forgiveness is to be a reflection of God's grace. And yet, God does not forgive us if we don't repent. So, if someone sins against me, I confront them, and they don't repent...am I to withhold forgiveness from them? Again, it sounds wrong, but in a way, to forgive someone who is unrepentant and determined to keep sinning doesn't sound very reflective of Christ. But...at the same time, God is their judge, not me. And when we don't forgive people, it eats us up inside. I know people who have been abused by other people who will never repent. Some of the abusers are even dead by now. But if the abused people don't forgive them, anger and resentment will make their lives bitter. So it seems like forgiveness is good...but I do notice that Jesus never specifically says that we have to forgive someone who is not repentant. Or does He? Someone help me here!:)
Verse 18 has another reference to binding and loosing stuff. What I would give to understand exactly what that means!
Psalm 22: 19-31
More of David's pleas for God's rescue. I am always ambivalent when people promise praise to God if He saves them, as David seems to do here. It sounds kind of like you are bargaining with God: Do this for me, and I'll do this for you. Maybe not, though. Maybe I am just being cynical.
Prov. 5: 15-21
As a wife, I really love this admonition for husbands to be satisfied with their wives:). Preach on, Solomon!