[November 29, 2023] The Exodus story of meaning is a three-part series that attempts to dive into the meaning of one of the greatest stories ever told in the Bible. I will “connect the dots” between the story as written in the Bible and explain how it can help each of us in a dramatic and positive way.
The story of Exodus is an existential tale that identifies deep patterns of human experiences ever since Adam and Eve walked the Earth. And, The Exodus story itself is very compelling.
The Story begins with the Israelites in captivity as slaves to a tyrant. We’re all the slavish children of tyrants. Sometimes that’s the external Tyrant, sometimes our own Tyrant, so the story is true psychologically and sociologically simultaneously, giving it a kind of eternal truth.
So, the Israelites are laboring under the yoke of the Egyptians, and a leader arises, Moses. He is called by God to chastise the Tyrant, implying that there is a Divine Spirit of sovereign power whose nature is to punish the Tyrant. It is also a call to the Israelites to free themselves from the Yoke of the Tyrant.
God is portrayed as the Spirit that inspires the enslaved, the unjustly enslaved, to free themselves, and so Moses is their unwilling leader. He is not a gifted man verbally but nonetheless touched by God to have this inspiring capacity, and he is urged by God to stand up against the Tyrant and to tell the Pharaoh that unless his people are let go, all Hell is going to break loose, which it does in the form of a multitude of plagues.
Plagues destroy both the present of the Egyptians and their future in the last plague, the death of the firstborn. The Israelites are then sent out into the desert by the Egyptians, who are finally terrified by God that their sorcery cannot duplicate. And in a last-ditch attempt to establish their tyrannical sovereignty, they decide to kill the Israelites and end up drowned in the Red Sea.
Now, the Israelites have escaped from the Tyrant. And this is where the story becomes even more realistic. It is so profoundly and remarkably and surprisingly realistic because it’s easy for naïve people to think that once you’ve escaped the Tyrant, you’re scot-free. Freedom means you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, but it turns out that’s the desert.
The Exodus story compresses these two extremes at the top and bottom of human life. One is an extreme of order, and that’s Tyranny, but the other is an extreme of chaos, and that’s this desert-like freedom where you’re sure you’re free. Now they are free, but where are the Israelites going, and which way is the right way? They’re in the desert, and it’s not pleasant, and it’s not even obvious that the Desert is better than the Tyranny.
Tomorrow, in Part 3, I will lay out a possible strong interpretation of the Bronze Serpent on a staff.
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