‘And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.’ The Israelites want to go to offer sacrifice to their God. The Pharaoh, time and again, does not let them go – despite the all the warning signs. His own people suffer as a consequence of breaking his word, yet, his heart is hardened.
Israel, metaphorically, ‘the people of Good will’ of the Creed, want to go and worship their God, and lead a way of life according to his requirements. This culture (‘Pharaoh’) does not let us go. Prayer to the true God is hindered. Our age tries to commit everything that these prayers remain unrealised. Our God is there, waiting for our arrival in order to worship him, to ‘pray with Him’. ‘Pharaoh’ does not want us to be transformed.
As a consequence, now it is not a metaphor, our Egypt is stricken by warning signs. ‘The cows of democracy’ die; the climate changes in an alarming way; newer and newer gods to be consumed are produced at the price of the loss of our souls.
And there is a personal reading of the same dynamic. There is the ‘Pharaoh’ part of us, which does not want our ‘divine part’ go freely to pray. Our ‘Pharaoh-heart’ is hardened time and again. Too often, our praying self remains only a desire, an unfulfilled option. And this internal Pharaoh part of ours grows into the above mentioned Pharaoh of our culture.
Let us be persistent with Moses, and go and make the plea for departure again and again. ‘And the Lord said unto Moses, rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh… Let my people go, that they may serve me’. Let us start our days in this spirit!
(The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus adds something important to this. Jesus speaks of the same spiritual rebirth. To ‘go out and offer a sacrifice to God’, we are enabled by the Holy Spirit. Without accepting His support, we would be unable to leave Pharaoh’s kingdom. This Holy Spirit is our Moses: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’)
1 March 2018
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..