The opening of the story of Moses indicates that even though God is all-knowing and loving, God sometimes asks people to act. We are "tempted" to ask, "Why can't God just do this? Why does God need Moses?" But, apparently, at least sometimes, God wants to act through humans, rather than just making things happen..
So far, the Moses stories seem to picture God as jealous. His love is everlasting, but also seems to be conditional. At first this bothered me, and it still does. (I don't like the image in one passage that God turned his face away from the people.) But I also see a description of God as always willing to take people back.
The reading for 2/3 connected nicely with yesterday's discussion of the Ten Commandments. Great drama--smoke, a celestial trumpet, forbidden territory, consecration--surrounds the issuing of the commandments so that in a literal sense, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
The story of the golden calf is powerful, so full of ironies that ring true. "Let me alone, so that my wrath may burn." :"He took the calf ... and made the Israelites drink it." "I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."
The part about obtaining a blessing "at the cost of a son or a brother" is troubling. However, even Jesus said something about having to hate our family. Is there an essential tension between the need for individual righteousness and our obligation to be servants to all?
In Exodus 4-6, Moses emerges as a reluctant hero, doubting his abilities and thus questioning God's instructions. The people, too, question Moses and God when, as a result of Moses' request to Pharaoh, the situation turns from bad to worse. The underlying theme seem to be that we need to trust God, even when the evidence at hand indicates such trust is unwarranted.
Amen to that!
The leaders of the Bible Reading Challenge (2) are the moderators of the blog.