Commemoration of Moses
September 4, 2015
The Lord be with you
September 4 is reserved for the Old Testament saint, Moses, on our church calendar. In this we follow the liturgical calendar of the Byzantine Church and the calendar developed by Wilhelm Löhe back in the 19th century.
Moses was born in Egypt several generations after Joseph brought his father, Jacob, and his brothers there to escape a famine in the land of Canaan. The descendants of Jacob had been enslaved by the Egyptians and were ordered to kill all their male children. When Moses was born, his mother put him in a basket and set it afloat in the Nile River. He was found by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as her son (Exodus 2:1-10). At age forty, Moses killed an Egyptian taskmaster and fled to the land of Midian, where he worked as a shepherd for forty years. Then the Lord called him to return to Egypt and tell Pharaoh, “Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness” (Exodus 5:1). Eventually Pharaoh gave in, and after the Israelites celebrated the first Passover, Moses led them out. At the Red Sea the Egyptian army was destroyed, and the Israelites passed to safety on dry land (Exodus 12-15). At Mount Sinai, they were given the Law and erected the tabernacle (Exodus 19-40). But because of disobedience, they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years. Moses himself was not allowed to enter the Promised Land, though God allowed him to view it (Deuteronomy 34). In the New Testament Moses is referred to as a lawgiver and prophet. He, along with Elijah, appeared with Jesus at our Lord’s transfiguration (Matthew 17; Mark 9; Luke 9). The first five books of the Bible are attributed to him. One often overlooked feature of these books is that over 25% of them deal with the worship life of the Israelites (even the reason Moses gave Pharaoh to release the Hebrews was so that they could go and worship him). This reflects the impotence God puts on corporate worship. Quite a few have noted the parallels between Moses and Jesus: persecuted as a child; time in Egypt; deliverer; and so on.
Prayer: 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. Amen.
Blessings in Christ,