Rev. Dr. Wado President KHTS
The people of Israel were slaves in Egypt and Yahweh sent Moses to deliver them from bondage in Egypt. In short, they set out from Egypt to go to the promised land, Canaan. When they came to mount Sanai Yahweh summoned Moses for a meeting to negotiate an agreement/covenant between Yahweh and the people of Israel. It is a 10 points bilateral agreement between Jews and God. It is called the 10 commandments. The most important of the 10 is that the people of Israel will worship only Yahweh and they will not make graven image for themselves to venerate.
The 10 points Bilateral Agreement Broken
After 39 days and a half, “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:1-4.) while on the mountain, God told Moses, I suppose God was angry. God did not say, “My people whom I brought up out of Egypt… anymore. He said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’ (Exodus 32: 7,8). At first in Exodus 5.1, God said, “let my people go…” now He said, “these are you people you have brought out of Egypt”. Haha, God thew it on Moses… your people, not mine… “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” 32:9-10
Moses said to Yahweh, “ No way!" But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. The 10 points bilateral agreement was trashed even before it is made official.
Moses is a good negotiator; A great leader of the people
Moses said he will be gone for 40 days, but the people realized that Moses was taking forever in coming down that mountain, probably because Moses was too old to climb up and down the mountain which rises to 2,7497 feet or (2285 meters) above sea level, the 80 something year old Moses did not do so good I guess; partly because he had to carry 2 heavy stone tablets while coming down (According to traditional teachings of Judaism in the Talmud, they were made of blue sapphire stone as a symbolic reminder of the sky, the heavens, and ultimately of God's throne.) we don’t know how many kilos but they were heavy. Also may be the people of Israel miscalculated the days, that is to say, Moses talked to the people today and he went up the mountain the next day but the people in their impatience began to count the day Moses talked with them as the first day. But Moses actually went the next day. But on the 39 days they chose rallied around a new leader, Aaron so Aron can make them a new symbol to direct their journey.
According to Jewish Rabbi Manis Friedman, “the sages who received this tradition from Moses tell us that when Moses God said the Jews made a golden calf or graven image he did not believe it. He heard it from God and he didn’t believe it. Because that’s what a devoted leader does. He or she always argues in favor of the people. A great leader gets his greatness from the people. He is not greater than the people. A devoted leader always argues in favor of the people. That is the greatness. But something puzzling here. Why bring down the bilateral agreement tablets and break them? Why not leave them on the mountain top? But… why bring them down and break them. They are heavy. Why bring them down and break them? It is better just don’t bring them down at all. May be Moses is an angry man who has a tendency to break everything in hands in need of anger management therapy. May be. According to Numbers 12: 3, Moses is called the “meekest man on earth” The story does not make sense to me. Why bring them all the way down and break them on the foot of the mountain? The story needs a deeper dive or it needs some decoding so its true meaning unearthed. Yes, the story needs demythologization.
The purpose in breaking the stones was that the stones were like contracts. The formal agreement. God said orally “thou shall have no other god and make no graven images." But that was not necessarily binding but when it came in writing in axe and stones that will be a binding commitment and then Jews would be unforgivable so Moses said I am not delivering this contract, we are not signing it, the deal is off. Because if he gave them the written word then there will be no forgiving them of idolatry. So to save his people Moses broke the contract. Moses had to cancel the contract in favor of the interests of the people. God actually is happy with the deal. That’s the kind of leadership God wants for his people.
According to the sages that received this tradition from Moses, Moses did not believe God when God said your people messed up. When he came down and actually saw what people did, Moses got angry, but he had to argue in favor of the people. He had to break the contract. He had to stand with the people. That’s the kind of leader God wants for his people. We are told the law of Moses is legalistic but if it did not benefit the people Moses is ready to break it for the sake of the people. Jesus had a good relationship with Moses, he met up with Moses on the mount of transfiguration. He fulfilled the law of Moses and replaced it with the amazing grace. Jesus know human cannot fulfill the law of righteousness, so he did if one our behalf.
Unhealthy Leaders Hold on to the Rigid Unbending Laws
Basic fundamental Christian doctrines are like bone to Christianity. Bones are better kept inside and not outside. Skin and flesh are kept outside.
Pharisees are model citizens, they fast and pray, they give tithes, the don’t commit adultery, they are righteous and zealous for God. they are not sinners.
But I wonder why Jesus can’t stand them in the gospel narratives. Jesus called them “snakes! brood of vipers”(Matt. 23.33), “whitewashed tomb” (Matt. 23.27), “the blind guide” (Matt. 23:16), “hypocrites” (Matt. 23:15), “blind fools!”(Matt. 23:17), “children of hell” (Matt. 23:16), “the unmarked grave,” (Luke 11:44). Pharisee are exoskeleton, meaning to say the wear their clothes outside in or inside out. They keep their bones outside while keeping their sensitive skins and soft flesh hidden inside their doctrinal bones. They are people who see a speck of dust in the eyes of their brothers and sisters but pay no attention to the log that is hanging in their eyes (Matt. 7: 3-5).
Now Pharisees are experts on the Torah, viz., the law of Moses. They hold on to the law of Moses more strictly than Moses himself because Moses would break them if those laws do not serve the interests, hopes and desires of the people. The people may be wrong, at times, but Moses would negotiate in favor of the people. That’s what great leaders do.Remember, no go great leaders are exoskeleton.
Philip Yancey says, “If doctrines and rules are worn externally, as a show of pride in spiritual superiority, the exoskeleton obscures God’s grace and love, making the Christian gospel ugly and unattractive.”
May be these are the reason why Schleiermacher warns church leaders who take the Old Testament too seriously. Schleiermacher insisted that when Christians take OT seriously, their Christianity become infected with legalism and offers negligible support for Christian doctrines. Schleiermacher rejected the notion that Jesus and the apostles set a precedent for Christians to observe by utilizing the OT, to the contrary, he pronounced the “gradual retirement” of the OT on the emergence of the NT and claimed that “the real meaning of the facts would be clearer if the Old Testament followed the New Testament as an appendix. Nowadays, there are leaders who want to hold fast to the rule books, traditions, the constitutions, the agreements, disregarding the needs, interests, hopes, fears, voices of the people. Yes, wanting to hold fast to their power when people are left dead in the streets.
Points of Importance
Finally, Aplastic anemia happens when bone marrow doesn’t produce enough new blood cells throughout the body. Aplastic anemia is an acquired autoimmune disease, which occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. When one member in an institution began to misunderstand the intentions and actions of another and misinterpret those actions as a threat to leadership position, and begin to directly or indirectly attack him or her, weaknesses within the system occur which will result in a dysfunctional institution. So, don’t be legalistic. One thing I would encourage KHTS to be. To be mature, to trust each other, to have faith in humanity and in one another. That is what great leaders do, “they encourage and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).