Ki Tissa (Exodus/Shemot 30:11 - 34:35)
For the week of March 14, 1998
16 Adar 5758
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as man speaks with his
Moses is a most unique individual in the Hebrew Scriptures. No one before him knew God as he did. We read that God spoke to Moses as one would speak to a friend. And still Moses wanted to know him better.
We have tended to think that the Bible is more concerned with religious observance and morality than with how to have a personal relationship with God. While the Torah is full of commandments regulating every aspect of life, the story of Moses' life demonstrates that the commandments were not ends in themselves.
This week's portion finds Moses at a pivotal point in Israel's history. The nation a couple of months before had experienced a remarkable deliverance from Egypt. Following that they had seen the parting of the Sea and God's miraculous provision of food and water. But as they grew impatient waiting for Moses to return from atop Mt. Sinai, they worshiped a golden calf (32:1-35).
What made this so horrible, wasn't just that it was an act of idolatry, but rather that the people had turned from God. God led them out of Egypt so that they would know him. He wanted relationship with them. Their time at Sinai should have been a highpoint in the unfolding of their destiny, not a demonstration of their unbelief and disloyalty.
God's reaction to this was to destroy the people. But when Moses pleaded with him not to, he relented. Then God told Moses that he himself would no longer lead the people to the promised land. But again Moses prevailed upon God.
Moses was not just a man on a mission. He had encountered God. God had called him to the task and it was to God that Moses continually turned. There was no religious observance that Moses could perform to save the day. He knew he needed God.
As we face life's problems, no matter how great or small, we can follow Moses' example. We need God.