Full Text for Exodus- Volume 55 - Why is there so much emphasis put on Moses when Israel sinned? (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY EDUCATION NETWORK EXODUS DR. DAVID ADAMS #55 Captioning Provided By: Caption First, Inc. 10 E. 22nd Street Suite 304 Lombard, IL 60148 800-825-5234 *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. *** >> One of the things that struck me about this material is that it was Israel that sinned but most of the emphasis on the text seems to be on Moses rather than on Israel as a whole. Is that a fair observation? >> It's certainly a fair observation, David. And I'm glad to see that you're, you know, paying a lot of attention to details in the text like that. Because it's when we begin to ask those kind of questions that we can find the right answers about what's happening in the text. And you know, one of the things I've tried to emphasize throughout this course is that there's a real difference in exegetical reading of the text, which reads the text carefully and pays attention to the details like this. There's a difference between that and casual devotional reading of the text that just kind of sort of waits for something to jump off the page and strike us as impressive. So I'm glad to see that you've picked up the discipline of reading the text carefully. So what can we say about this emphasis on Moses here? I think that it's -- we need to see it as part of the emphasis on the changing role of Moses throughout the second half of the book. You recall that in the first part of the book up to Chapter 14, the role of Moses was a pretty straightforward and simple one. God had charged him to go down to Egypt to confront Pharaoh, to deliver God's messages to Pharaoh with Aaron as his assistant to convince Pharaoh to let his people go and then to lead them out back to the mountain of God. So Moses was a -- Moses was a spokesman for God. And he was a leader for the people. But we've seen throughout the second part of the book if we're paying careful attention to the role of Moses that the role of Moses is changing and developing. It's expanding. We've already seen that this was anticipated earlier in the book in Chapter 18 when Moses was talking with Jethro. There Jethro says to Moses in Verse 19 "You will represent the people before God and bring their cases to God." This is something that Moses hadn't been doing in the first part of the book. "And you will warn them about the statues and laws and make them know the way in which they must walk and the things they must do." So already here in Verse 18 we see a suggestion that Moses' role is going to be changing. Moses is no longer just God's spokesman, certainly not to Pharaoh. So in Verses 19 -- excuse me; Chapters 19 to 23, we see Moses taking on the role of lawgiver. He's the one who stands between God and the people. The people have to stay at the foot of the mountain, remember? And Moses is called by God to come up to the mountain to receive his instruction on how the people of Israel should live and to give it to the people. And when the people are terrified by the theophany, the smoke and the fire and the thunder and the sound that they hear, they appeal to Moses to intercede for them, to stand between them and God so that they are not overwhelmed by the power of God. And so we see the role of Moses as an intermediary between Yahweh and his people beginning to develop in these chapters. We see it again emphasized in that covenant ceremony that we looked at in Exodus Chapter 24. There Moses functioned in a priestly function where he conducted the sacrifices. He scattered the blood on the altar and upon the people. And then in that chapter you will remember, too, he then also went with the elders up and dined before God and then went into the very presence of God to receive more teaching. So there in Chapter 24 we see Moses taking on really for the first time in a formal way a priestly function, as well, what we would call a priestly function. In Chapter 33, we now get Moses in this section that we're looking at here functioning as an intercessor on behalf of the people. So when the people sin, Moses goes before God in these chapters. And he's, you know, taking on the role of saying to God "Don't punish these people. Yes, they are a stiff-necked people. Yes, they have sinned. But remember, you know, your" -- "remember your reputation. Why should the Egyptians say that you led them out into the desert just to destroy them?" You know, "This would look bad for you." Moses tries to make several arguments here all together. He first uses that one and then says, "Remember the promises you made to Abraham?" And then he reminds God of the promises, as well. So Moses takes on the role of one who intercedes for the people to try to get God to forgive them. And finally, he even offers himself as a kind of substitutionary atonement. This isn't a real full substitutionary atonement here. But it does sort of anticipate the substitutionary atonement that we get later in the book of Leviticus. So in Verses 31 and 32 of Chapter 32 we read "Moses returned to the Lord and said, 'Alas, this people have sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will, forgive their sin. But if not, please blot me out of the book that you have written." So Moses says, you know, "Please forgive them. And if you can't forgive them, put your punishment upon me." And in this way we see the role of Moses expanding even further. And as the book of Exodus proceeds, Moses increasingly becomes a type of Christ who takes on the role of the one who comes down from God. Who becomes true man. Who is the priest. Who intercedes on behalf of the people. And finally, truly does become the substitutionary atonement for the sins of the people. And so we see Moses' role developing here. And the emphasis, David, that you pointed to of Moses in this text, you know, sort of underscores the fact that the -- what we might call the character development of Moses is a significant -- not just a significant literary aspect of the text, but a significant christological and theological aspect of the second part of the book of Exodus that should remind us and point us to Christ and his work in the New Testament, as well. *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. ***