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Shemot/Exodus 6:2 And G-d spoke to Moshe and He said to him, "I am Adonai"
This portion starts with an unusual combination of words. The verb is almost always only used in the Piel stem, implying an intensified or concentrated effect, and refers to the action of speaking. It would normally be translated, "he spoke". Indeed, the combination is repeated many times in the Torah and stresses how G-d spoke to Moshe on a direct face-to-face basis: a close or even intimate conversation. However, here the verb is coupled with the name of G-d that is associated in classical Jewish thought with the Attribute of Justice - a rare combination - so that it is taken by several commentators to be a harsh or stern rebuke (Gur Aryeh) in response to Moshe's doubts expressed at the end of the previous parasha (Shemot 5:22-23).
It seems it is necessary for G-d to speak strongly even to Moshe, whom He later describes to Aharon and Miryam as, "the only one who is faithful in My entire household. With him I speak face to face and clearly, not in riddles; he sees the image of Adonai" (B'Midbar 12:7-8, CJB). Later, we find King Sha'ul, the anointed king of Isra'el, being rebuked by the prophet Samuel, "You did a foolish thing. You didn't obey the mitzvah of Adonai, which He gave you" (1 Sam 13:13, CJB), when he disobeyed the L-rd's instructions regarding the bringing of a burnt offering. Similarly, we hear a definite tone of rebuke in Yeshua's words to the P'rushim in such instances as, "Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P'rushim! For you are shutting the Kingdom of Heaven in peoples' faces, neither entering yourselves nor allowing those who wish to enter to do so" (Matthew 23:13, CJB).
Some believers make the mistake of assuming that G-d will only speak to them in gushy words of love and encouragement, dismissing corrective words or scriptures as being for someone else, or simply being wrong or mis-applied. Whilst moments of rebuke may be few, for G-d does not condemn His children, sometimes He does need to speak more strongly to us when we are not paying attention properly or fall into sin. After all, as the Scriptures tell us, "those whom the L-rd loves He disciplines ... as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline" (Hebrews 12:6-7, NASB). G-d still speaks to us face-to-face, by His Spirit - we must take care to take seriously whatever He says, be it encouragement or correction and not dismiss those words which we find uncomfortable, for it is just these words that we most need to hear.
Further Study: Job 5:17-18; Proverbs 3:11-12; Revelation 3:19
Application: Has G-d been speaking to you recently? Have you heard and acknoweldged His voice? If not, can you remember the last thing He spoke to you about which perhaps you should be acting upon?
© Jonathan Allen, 2004
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