God's shocking call to the prophet Moses, and to us all--Part 1

Dear Readers,

Over the years, I have read countless commentaries on God's call to Moses, and benefitted from them all. This one, by John W. Wright, though, has shocked me, then lifted me, into more profound and encompassing glimpses of truth than any I've read before. Here is my first distillation, for today, Thursday, August 31. Another will come out tomorrow, September 1. John W. Wright's full reflections on this passage can be found in Connections: A Lectionary Commentary, Year A, 2020, pages 263-265.

As Wright proposes, "We need to abandon romantic images of the shepherd to understand the situation of Moses in Exodus 3:1-15. Shepherding is lowly, unskilled labor. At the beginning of Exodus 3, Moses has paid dearly for his inability to deal with his bicultural life and stresses. Moses' life has moved from the miracle of his preservation as a baby to utter devastation. Exodus 2 details how Moses is not sufficiently Egyptian for the Egyptians nor sufficiently Hebrew for the Hebrews. He murders an Egyptian as his anger overwhelms him.

"Moses flees to Midian as a refugee to escape. He marries Zipporah. His father-in-law, Jethro, however, does not award Moses with a position of honor in his household. Jethro sends Moses immediately away from his new bride. Moses finds himself alone. He has ruined his life. . . ."

"God does not let the story end, however. God has not ended Moses' life. The passage uses the form of the prophetic call. It records the divine commission to Moses (Exodus 3:4-10), Moses' objection of unworthiness (v. 11), and the divine reaffirmation of the call (v. 12)."

"The divine Word calls Moses with his unhealed wound. God offers Moses no promise of healing. The sign that God promises Moses will come only after Moses has returned to Pharaoh and demanded Israel's release to evidence God's promise to the ancestors.

"The call requires Moses to return to the place where he is wanted for murder, to speak for a people who have already rejected him. Moses' vocation, a purpose amid his suffering, comes with only the assurance that God is 'with you' (v. 12)".

More tomorrow!!