Messianic Education Trust
(Ex 13:17 - 17:16)

Shemot/Exodus 14:15   "Why do you cry out to Me? Speak to the children of Israel that they should break camp."

Do you detect a hint of irritation here on G-d's part? Is The Name ...

HaShem: literally, Hebrew for 'The Name' - an allusion used to avoid pronouncing the Tetragrammaton, the so-called 'ineffable' name of G–d
HaShem showing just a little frustration at the behaviour of the people? Who Is ...

Rashi: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105 CE), French rabbi who wrote commentaries on the Torah, the Prophets and the Talmud, lived in Troyes where he founded a yeshiva in 1067; focuses on the plain meaning (p'shat) of the text, although sometimes quite cryptic in his brevity
Rashi provides us with two ideas: the first suggests that "Moshe was standing and praying. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, 'Now is not the time for long prayer, for Israel is in distress'", implying that Moshe should stop praying and do something. Alternatively, Rashi suggests that HaShem's question implies, "the matter is for Me and not for you" as G-d later chides the prophets for murmuring about Israel's difficulties as if G-d hadn't taken enough trouble Himself (Isaiah 45:9-12). After all, Israel has only to break camp and move forward to walk into what G-d has planned and set up before them.

Who Is ...

Sforno: Rabbi Ovadiah Sforno (1470-1550 CE), Italian rabbi, philosopher and physician; born in Cesena, he went to Rome to study medicine; left in 1525 and after some years of travel, settled in Bologna where he founded a yeshiva which he conducted until his death
Sforno, on the other hand, suggests that Moshe was complaining to Adonai about the leaders of the people who had just been moaning about being brought out into the desert to die (v11), and that He is rebuking Moshe for speaking disrespectfully about the leaders of G-d's people; in effect, "stop complaining and move out!" G-d is reassuring Moshe's doubts as to whether the people can be trusted by telling him that he only has to give the order and they will go forward - they will not disobey him.

So perhaps the issue here is with Moshe, rather than with G-d. Moshe is having a leadership crisis and is not certain that he has what it takes to lead the people through their fears and doubts. Did the people have a problem? Certainly, you only have to read their conversation in the previous verses (v11-12) to know that they had effectively lost it. Although Moshe makes the right response (v13-14) pointing to G-d's promises and abilities to deliver the people, his own faith is sufficiently shaken that HaShem has to take a firm line to snap Moshe out of his self-doubt and get him back on track; the people have gone to pieces and G-d can't allow his leader to go the same way. So although neither Moshe nor the people are directly recorded as crying out to G-d, He steps in and gives Moshe a fairly sharp set of instructions about what he is to do and what G-d is about to do.

There comes a time in each of our lives when prevarication and delay, the so-called "waiting upon the L-rd", is not only damaging to us and those around us, but contrary to G-d's will. Elijah the prophet challenged the people of Israel on Mt. Carmel: "How long are you going to jump back and forth between two positions?" (1 Kings 18:21, CJB); in the letter to the community in Laodicea, Yeshua said, "You are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other!" (Revelation 3:15, CJB). Ya'akov in his letter sums it up: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask G-d ... but let him ask in trust, doubting nothing for the doubter ... should not think that he will receive anything from the L-rd, for he is double minded, unstable in all his ways" (Ya'akov 1:5-8, CJB). Having asked, do it!

Further Study: Proverbs 3:5-7; Romans 14:22-23

Application: Are you debating a big decision at the moment and seeking the L-rd as to what you should do? When you have taken counsel and advice from trustworthy people, you must act. You cannot delay indefinitely, waiting for one more confirmation - you just have to do it.

© Jonathan Allen, 2006

Messianic Trust Home Page Join Weekly Email More Weekly Drashot
Last Week Support the work of producing this weekly commentary
Next Week
Last Year - 5765 Scripture Index Next Year - 5767