Did Moses Love G-D?

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Rabbi Eric Tokajer

One of the heroes we read about in the early books of the Bible is Moses. Moses was an Israelite, born during the time of Israel’s captivity in Egypt, who became the leader of the Israelite people during their slavery and who led them all the way to the border of the promised land. His entire life is only 120 years long, yet in a book that covers thousands of years of Israel’s history, Moses’ life and actions take up more chapters and pages than any other single person. It is clear from the scale of the Bible’s coverage of Moses that the story of the life of Moses must hold special significance and value to the readers of the Bible. If the Bible truly was inspired by G-D and given to equip believers as we read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, then the amount of text given to share the story of Moses was not just page filler.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness, so that the person belonging to God may be capable, fully equipped for every good deed” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, TLV).

Nor was so much written about Moses just because his story was powerful and dramatic. The truth is that so much was written about Moses because his story is useful for teaching, reproof, restoration and training in righteousness.

When we as believers read about Moses, we should read his narrative as if we were walking step by step along with him. And when we do so, we should look at the pages not to just read what Moses said or did, but to study his words and actions so we can apply the lessons of his life to how we live our lives today.

Many times when we read or even teach about the life of Moses, we focus on his great faith in G-D and how Moses was faithful to be obedient to G-D. Just think about it: From the very first moment that Moses met G-D at the burning bush, he began to obey Him. When G-D spoke to Moses from the burning bush and said, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Ex. 3:5), Moses immediately removed his shoes. Throughout the balance of the Exodus narrative, Moses continued to obey G-D, as G-D told Moses to go to Pharaoh, and he did. Moses was told to cast his staff down, and he did. Moses was told what to say, and he said it. 

Over and over, we find Moses demonstrating faithful obedience to G-D. Even after the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea and gathered around Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, Moses was still obeying G-D faithfully, as he prepared himself and his people to receive the Torah. Later, as we read about the preparation and building of the tabernacle, we see Moses continuing to be obedient to G-D. However, while we see Moses repeatedly demonstrated faithfulness and obedience, how do we know Moses not only served G-D, but he also loved G-D? 

There are many places in the text that demonstrate Moses’ love for G-D; however, we have to look closely for them because they are often hidden within the narrative of his obedience. We all we know the greatest of the commandments is to “Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5), and we know that Moses was very obedient to G-D, so we must have written record that demonstrates Moses’ obedience in loving G-D. We know it is possible to obey G-D without loving Him; we also know that it is not possible to love G-D without obeying Him. There are many pages of biblical text that show us Moses’ love for G-D.

One such passage of Scripture is found in Exodus 39:43:

“When Moses saw the entire work, and that they had done it just as Adonai had commanded, Moses blessed them” (Ex. 39:43).

You may not see the love for G-D yet, but as I said, it is hidden in the text. Think with me for a moment about the context of this verse. At this point in the story, Moses was supernaturally raised up to lead the children of Israel. He demanded and received the release of the Israelites from slavery. He held up his staff and parted the sea. He has met with G-D on the mountain and brought down the tablets of testimony. He has received the plans for the tabernacle, has overseen its preparations and construction, and is about to oversee its inauguration. And at that very moment when he could have stopped to pat himself on the back, he stopped and blessed the people.

In that moment, Moses showed just how much he loved his G-D. You may ask how did Moses blessing the children of Israel demonstrate his love for G-D? Just remember what Yeshua said when asked about the greatest commandments:

“And He said to him, ‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matt. 22:37).

We should also look at what was written in 1 John 4:7-12: “Loved ones, let us love one another, for love is from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. The love of God was revealed among us by this—that God sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. This is love—not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atonement for our sins. Loved ones, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is made perfect in us.”

So, as you can see, one of the most powerful examples of Moses’ love for G-D was when he stopped what he was doing at a moment of his own success so he could bless the people of G-D, his brothers and sisters. What a powerful lesson for people today who seem to believe all too often that the best demonstration of their love for G-D is found in what they can do or are doing for Him.

Did Moses love G-D? The answer is yes, he did. But the next question is: Do we?

Eric Tokajer is the author of “Overcoming Fearlessness,” “What If Everything You Were Taught About the Ten Commandments Was Wrong?”, “With Me in Paradise,” “Transient Singularity,” “OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry,” “#ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer,” “Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians” and “Galatians in Context.” Visit his website at rabbierict.com.

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