Weekly Drash - Shemot
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
God of the Fathers
Shemot - שמות : “Names”
Thought for the Week:
Have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob “? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken. (Mark 12:26–27)
He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” (Exodus 3:6)
We note that God did not introduce Himself to Moses by saying, “I am God most High Creator of Heaven and Earth.” In Moses’ world, there were many gods, several of which might have claimed that title. In Egypt Moses was familiar with the gods of Egypt. In Midian he was familiar with the gods of Midian. “God” is a pretty broad term both then and now.
Most people admit to believing in God, but their definition of God is rather vague. There is a generally accepted notion of a cosmic power, some benevolent energy force which permeates all creation, a morally ambiguous higher power of fate or destiny. Alternatively, there is a popular version of God fashioned rather a bit after Santa Clause—one who gives us what we ask him for and checks a list to see if we’ve been naughty or nice, but does not really hold us to any specific or particular code of behavior. Modern feminists identify God as “the goddess”, then there is the angel-worship movement where many divine beings collectively constitute God, not to mention the neo-gnostic notion of God within each of us. All of these are conceptions of gods, but they are not the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob.
Moses had been nursed by his mother and had lived among his people. He was well versed in the lore of his fathers, the stories of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. From boyhood he must have known the stories of the God that appeared to Abraham and made a covenant with him. But the stories only became a reality in his life as the voice from the bush declared, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (3:6) When he heard this, Moses concealed his face lest, in seeing God, he would die.
When God identified himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, that narrowed down the field significantly. By identifying Himself as the God of the Fathers, the LORD distinguished Himself from the panorama of clamoring fakes and would-be-gods of the world.
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
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