The Sisyphean Life of Moses

Moving between Deuteronomy 34 and Jude 9, this week’s Adult Bible Study Guide focuses on the drama surrounding Moses’s death and resurrection. In providing reasons for Moses being denied entrance into the Promised Land and for his lonely death, it also relies on Ellen White’s commentary on the story in Patriarchs and Prophets. As I read the prophet on the patriarch, I found an existential funk descend, a beautifully muddy mix of lifework and meaninglessness, the tensions between individual and the community.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11563
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Yes…but you forget that Moses’ crowning act… is that he got to co-write a song with Jesus. Revelation 15:1-4…the Song of Moses and the Lamb.

"And they were singing the Song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
‘Great and marvelous are your actions,
Lord God Almighty
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations.
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify
your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before
you,
for your righteous deeds have been
revealed.’

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Alexander here.

Thanks for commenting. I’m not sure what you mean here by “crowning act” and “co-write.” I’d suggest that the recorded crowning act of Moses happened on Sinai in Exodus 19.

Those song verses you mention are partly drawn from an ancient part of Exodus 15 called the Song of Moses or the Song of the Sea. I don’t really see Moses and Jesus composing it together, rather the author of Revelation seems to be evoking this famous artistic celebration of victory and weaving it into a new victorious moment for God’s people.

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Well…I suppose either of us could be right. But if you look at Deut. 31:22, you will see that after being commissioned by God to write a song, which would serve as a reminder (and possibly an indictment) to the children of Israel for generations to come, he wrote down the words of the song that very day. In my mind, given the text in Revelation, it is suggestive of a very high level of inspiration or collaboration…

And I see it as a kind of crowning act, in terms of his own spiritual journey, because of the lyrics themselves. In Deut, 32, he acknowledges ‘the perfect Rock’ along with the justice and fairness of God. Moses has come to a place where he realizes his error when he struck the rock twice, and notwithstanding his broken heart at not entering the Promised Land, acknowledges God’s faithfulness…it seems he now has discernment of God’s plan in a way he did not before.

You’re right, in that John’s rendition comes from several OT quotations, but certainly Moses’ song is a significant portion. Anyway, I very much appreciated your article.

[quote=“juge, post:4, topic:22315”]
Moses has come to a place where he realizes his error when he struck the rock twice, and notwithstanding his broken heart at not entering the Promised Land, acknowledges God’s faithfulness…it seems he now has discernment of God’s plan in a way he did not before.

The descriptions of God in the OT (“What, he picked up some sticks on a sabbath? Kill him!”) are often flat-out contradictions of the God that is shown to us in Jesus.

I’m convinced that we misunderstand the true nature of scripture. God is God, the Bible isn’t.

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