Today the Church commemorates the great prophet and deliverer of God’s people, Moses. Our devotional reading comes from Celebrating the Saints.
The first of the great prophets, Moses was born in Egypt long after Joseph and his service to the Egyptian people had faded in memory. Under the harsh conditions at the time, all Jewish male children were ordered drowned in the Nile. This was an order with which Moses’ mother, Jochebed, could not comply. She hid her little boy for three months and then finally put him in a basket, made watertight, and placed him upon the Nile. In time, the daughter of Pharaoh heard the baby crying and sent her servant to fetch him. She recognized that he was one of the Hebrew children, but chose to adopt him and raise him as her own.
When he was forty, Moses visited his own people. He saw an Egyptian abusing one of them. He killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. When he visited them the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting and urged them to stop. They asked him who had appointed him ruler and judge over them and if he intended to kill them as he had the Egyptian. Realizing his deed was known, Moses fled to the wilderness.
There a Midianite priest took him in and gave him his daughter Zipporah in marriage. Moses stayed there for forty years. Then God appeared to him in a burning bush, revealing Himself as “I AM.” He sent a reluctant Moses back to Egypt to bring out the children of Israel from their slavery and gave him his brother Aaron as a helper and spokesperson.
Pharaoh was not at all inclined to let Israel go. Yet, through a series of escalating, miraculous disasters, God finally forced Pharaoh’s hand. The final disaster was the death of the firstborn of all the Egyptians, but the saving of all Israelites who sheltered beneath the blood of the Passover lamb. Pharaoh then changed his mind and pursued the Hebrews. He cornered them by the Red Sea, but with a mighty miracle the sea divided and Israel crossed, the waters a wall on either side. When Pharaoh and his army attempted to follow, the waters crashed over them. Thus Moses led the Israelites through the sea as on dry ground. He brought them to Sinai where he received the Ten Commandments and the regulations regarding worship. Due to their faithlessness, Israel was condemned to wander forty years in the wilderness. During this whole time, Moses constantly interceded for them and pleaded with God to forgive them and to fulfill His promises to them. Moses was not allowed to enter the land of promise. He viewed it from the top of Mount Pisgah and there died.
Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Moses, You began the prophetic pattern of teaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles Your presence in creation to heal it of its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the final end-times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Devotional reading is adapted from Celebrating the Saints by William C. Weedon, page 164–65 © 2016 William C. Weedon; published by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Prayer is from the Treasury of Daily Prayer, page 690 © 2012 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.