A rich, nourishing and delightful On Being Podcast is the catalyst for this deeper examination of the Biblical story of Moses and the Exodus.
Moses’ call and mission with the Exodus can be viewed as a symbolic look of how we collectively as mortals resist, refuse and fight God’s invitation to liberation.
The bondage of the Hebrews in Egypt represents our attachment to the natural man, our ego self or the temporal moral human condition. This is where we experience slavery of the senses, slavery to habits or automatic responses. We are not free, we are continually being acted upon and we suffer because of that slavery and captivity.
Heavenly Father and Mother are always calling us to freedom and union with them but we are blinded, shackled and fearful. Freedom means taking upon us the yolk of Christ and allowing the Spirit to be in control of the path. It means killing, crucifying, cutting off the head, drowning in the Red sea the natural man. We cannot perfect the natural man, he or she must be removed. It is a horrible, fearful idea for the ego to contemplate. Thus a mediator, redeemer or deliverer is called upon to enter the human game and show us the way to liberation.
Moses is thus a type of Christ in many respects but only after he finally accepts the call to take part in the deliverance of the Hebrews. When God speaks to Moses from the burning bush, they have quite a tussle back and forth because Moses resists the call at every turn. God tells Moses the plan, reassures him of divine help but still Moses comes up with reasons to refuse.
In Exodus 4:10 Moses says, “…O my Lord, I am not eloquent, but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue…” The text in the Torah uses the word kaved which means heavy or hard. Or in other words, he cannot speak with quick wit or brilliance. Moses is assuming that he personally must take on Pharaoh with just the right words to accomplish the liberation plan.
It is curious that later on in the story, the Torah again uses the word kaved – heavy or hard to describe Pharaoh’s heart. In the same way that Moses resists God because of this heaviness, Pharaoh resists because of his hard heart.
We don’t know how long this conversation between Moses and God went on, but I suspect the process of learning to open his mouth and speak for God was not a quick transition, mirroring the lengthy process it took to break Pharaoh’s heart.
The pattern of avoiding and refusing the path to liberation is played out again with Pharaoh denying the liberation of the Hebrews at every request and plague until finally his arrogance and hard heart is overcome with the death of the firstborns and finally the loss of his army in the sea. Tragedy and suffering Pharaoh brought on himself and his people because he fought and refused God. And yet, we do the same to ourselves.
Moses will again experience that pattern of refusing God’s deliverance every time the wandering Hebrews complain, sin and request to go back to the life of slavery in Egypt. The path of resting in and remembering our constant divine connection to God requires commitment, maturity and devotion. It’s much easier to go back to sleep, back to slavery and take on the natural man again. Moses is a type of Christ in this way as he suffers with his people as they make the slow transition from the wilderness of learning into the promised land.
Isaiah reminds us that “his hand is stretched out still.” For as long as it takes Heavenly Father and Mother will seek after us to be unified with them. Through earthly expressions like Moses or Jesus, they send a deliverer and a redeemer to set the captives free. Within each of us we have the traits of Moses with a heavy tongue, Moses with confident speech, Pharaoh with an arrogant mind, Pharaoh with a broken and grieving heart, Hebrews with an enslaved habit, Hebrews with a fearful path to tread, and Hebrews with jubilant grateful praise. And it is my belief that God our Father and Mother are with us through every adventure until we are free of the attachment to our temporal nature and finally rest in them and in eternal life.