Friday, November 4, 2011

Hebrews 3: more from the Moreh on Moses and today

Our Sabbath meeting at the synagogue is drawing to a close, the sun is setting on the day our gentile oppressors named after their false god Saturn. The visiting Moreh (teacher) is wrapping up his sermon for this week. He mentions the name that stirs the heart of every godly Jew with love, awe, humility, and gratitude, the name of Moses, the one who stands above all  of the other Mighty Men of Israel:

MOSES OUR PROPHET – through him God warned the oppressors of the Hebrews against their destruction, and it came to pass.

MOSES OUR DELIVERER – through him God delivered his people from Egyptian slavery and brought them through the Red Sea.

MOSES OUR JUDGE, LEADER, AND CAPTAIN IN BATTLE – through him God led His unruly tribe of homeless Hebrews for 40 years in the wilderness, despite famine, peril, sword and strife, back home to the Holy Land, where every man ‘neath his vine and fig tree could live in peace and unafraid.

MOSES OUR BREAD-GIVER – through him God fed our starving forefathers with manna from heaven.

MOSES OUR INTERCESSOR – because he pled for mercy God changed his mind and refrained from destroying stiffnecked Israel and just start fresh with a new tribe with Moses as patriarch.

And above all –

MOSES OUR LAWGIVER – through him God gave us the commandments on Sinai and the holy Torah – the law of God in five books.

There was a time when I would stop my ears against any challenges to the greatness of Moses. I fixed my thoughts of the teachings and greatness of Moses, none other could compare to him. I scoffed when I first heard that a rabbi from Nazareth – Nazareth! - was being proclaimed as Greater than Moses! Ha! But so much has changed in my mind and heart since then, praise be to the God of Israel and yes of Moses too. Jesus is all Moses ever was and so much more! The Moreh says to us:

“Therefore holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest who we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.

“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house.”

God’s house? God’s house? You mean the temple in Jerusalem, Moreh? But Moses died before Solomon, and though Jesus cleansed the temple of the moneychangers, he did not pretend to oversee it. And the Moreh clarifies:

We are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope in which we boast.”

And I understand. God’s shekinah glory, his very Spirit, will be present and honored in and through us today if we hear His voice, if today we encourage each other, if today we do not harden our hearts.

Then the Moreh sits down. And as the sun sets and the people disperse I pray:

“O builder of this house, Lord of all of the servants of Israel including Moses, today I choose to hear Your voice. Today I choose to say “yes” with a heart that is as a weaned child towards its mother. Today I choose to encourage my brothers and sisters to do the same.”

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