Updated: Jan 2
“Moses said 'Be it as you say, that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God.
The frogs shall depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they shall be left only in the Nile.'
So Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh; and Moses cried to the Lord concerning the frogs, as he had agreed with Pharaoh.
And the Lord did according to the word of Moses"
Often in Scripture we see that many prophets after some encounter with God "do according to the word of God" but here we're reading that the "Lord did according to the word of Moses." Now, this is of course not to be viewed as almighty God submitting to Moses to get him out of a sticky situation since Moses had, on behalf of God, spoken out of turn to Pharaoh. Rather, this is testament to Moses' growth in confidence and knowledge of who God is and speaking with authority out of that knowledge. Here, he is coming to a fuller awareness that God is trustworthy.
In Moses' first encounter with God in the burning bush, God shares his name with Moses. In the ancient world it was understood that a name carried authority and when a name was revealed to someone it was a sign of entrusting the use of that name's authority. When God reveals his name to Moses, he is inviting him to relationship and giving him a reason to have confidence in this mission he is being entrusted with. But what is Moses' response? Even after God foretells what is to happen and how He will be with Moses through it all, Moses responds with fear of the people's disbelief to his mission; Fear of his own weakness and lack of eloquence and fear of being ill suited for this mission. He is overcome by his own lacking and his nakedness before the Lord. He does not focus on the infinite power of God's promise to be with him and God's ability to more than make up for wherever Moses is lacking.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve walked with God and relied on Him for everything and lived in that confidence in His providence. And when they fall into sin their first recognition is of their nakedness and so try to cover it and make up for it. When God discovers this, His first response is much in the way of how a father might react at the sight of his precious child coming home from school in tears after being called names. He is faced with the sheer absurdity in his mind that their child could be called something other than "beautiful" or "precious" and now has to remind his child of the truth. “Who told you you were naked?” I read this as the Father saying in an incredulous manner, "Who told you you were 'naked'? What is this 'naked,' as if it were a lacking of a thing to be bare before me, and rely on me for your every need and shortcoming without fear of it?" JPII's writings on the Theology of the Body speak of how our bodies are an icon of God. In their naked and essential form they point to the glory of God. The naked body is good and holy and beautiful. It is only in our fallenness that our views and desires of the body are distorted and disordered and see a need to be covered up and protected from the other. Before the fall we were in perfect relationship with God and walked with him in complete friendship and harmony with each other in the garden. Having now sundered that relationship we see still His goodness towards Adam and Eve. "And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them." Even though Adam and Eve had torn that relationship where they walked with God, even still he is provider to cover their nakedness and protect them as they must go forth from the garden while he begins his plan of restoration.
Jesus, the new Adam, who brings us back to full communion with God shows us the way back, the truth of who we are and the fullness of life that awaits us. Obedient to the Father and relying on Him in every way, Jesus entrusts his entirety of will to the Father's plan to redeem all of humanity. And so, see now in His final moments, in the consummation or completion of this mission, it is in return to sheer nakedness in every way (as Adam and Eve once were), bare before the father with the confidence and trust that even as He breathed His last, His soul could only fall into His Father's loving hands. We look at Christ's naked body raised up to the Father on the cross for us and we are saved. He has made a way back for us and shown us The Way.
So, when Moses speaks on behalf of God to Pharaoh, it is from a place of knowledge and confidence of who God is, aware that HE WILL provide and make up for every short coming on this mission. I once read faith defined as "partaking in the knowledge of who God is." Isn't the faith of Moses essentially the same faith that provides for miracles? This faith is evident in Mary's intimate knowledge of her son at the Wedding Feast of Cana. Jesus says, "My hour has not yet come." but Mary with the utmost knowledge and confidence of who her son is, simply states "Do whatever he tells you." In ACTS we see Peter and John confronted with a leper who looks expectantly at them for alms but Peter responds with the same FAITH - partaking in the knowledge and confidence of who God is - "I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise and walk."
Now, listen to me. Who told you you were naked? Don’t be afraid to be bare before Him. To enter into this relationship of trust and confidence we must come to terms with our own nakedness and humanity. We have no reason for shame of nakedness before our loving Father and can embrace the reality of our weakness in our fallen state so that we can be confident in God's grace making up for wherever we are lacking and providing for our every need. Even if death seemingly says otherwise, it does not have the last word.
If we are confident in who He is, then we don’t fear the unknown. We don’t fear risk. We don’t fear failure. As a result, we dream big because the only victory that matters is already assured. Even more, God has revealed Himself to us in the name that is above every other name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The One who has won every victory for us has shared this name with us and we can call on this name and speak to Him face to face as we would to a friend.
- Shehan Perera