April 12: A murderer, a stutterer and a sorcerer walks into a bar…

by Matthew Snow

Lenten Devotional 2011Of all the bizarre stories in the Bible, and there are many, surely the story of Moses and the Exodus must rank as High Strangeness. The twists and turns of the plot are so baffling that it seems almost impossible for the common reader to ferret out what actually is going on. And who was Moses anyway? A murderer, a stutterer and a sorcerer (among other things) and yet this man commanded Yahweh’s attention and gained a private audience with Him on a regular basis.

In the reading for today, Moses and Aaron are told by God Himself to confront the Pharaoh and demand the release of
the Israelites. Moses’ impertinence so enrages the Pharaoh that he tightens the screws on the enslaved Jews even more by imposing back breaking restrictions on their labor while demanding that they maintain the same production schedule. For this increased hardship Moses must accept the blame.

In Mark 9:42-50 we are presented with an Elmer Gantry type admonition advocating self mutilation as preferable to
corruption and the fires of hell. A touch severe, I think, and not my cup of tea. The final two sentences, with their play on the word “salt,” as both a verb and noun, is a good example of one of those slippery Biblical phrases one encounters on the slippery slope of Biblical slipperiness. Perhaps if the reader were to substitute the word “faith” for “salt” they may come up with a more accessible reading.

Exodus 5:1-23; Exodus 6:1
Psalm 124, Psalm 125, Psalm 126
I Corinthians 14:20-40
Mark 9:42-50