Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert…
Here we have an account of God s disclosure of Himself to Moses; we have that which is the root out of which Moses' whole conception of God and His government grew. Laying aside all preconceptions and prejudices, let us see what sort of a portrait this chapter gives us:
1. It shows us a self-revealing God; a God who discloses Himself to the human race, and communicates with them.
2. This God is one who is not indifferent to the woes and sufferings of His people.
3. He is a God of deliverance.
4. In working out this deliverance, He chooses human and imperfect instruments.
5. The very name by which God at once reveals and conceals Himself suggests the similitude between the Old Testament and the New Testament revelations. "I am," says Jehovah to Moses; "you must trust Me and walk by faith in My assurance, and not in an intellectual comprehension of My character and My purposes." "I am," says Christ to Philip; "you must trust in Me, and walk by your faith in Me: not by an understanding of what the Father is who hath sent Me, or a comprehension of what the Father purposes to accomplish in and by you." In a sense the Egyptian inscription, the Athenian altar, and Herbert Spencer's definition are true; God is the Unknown and Unknowable. The intellect tries in vain to draw aside the veil; but love and sympathy pass behind it. Philosophy in vain endeavours to analyse and interpret mother-love; but the child in simplicity and faith reposes on it. The God of Moses and the God of the twelve disciples are alike in this — that They are the incomprehensible "I am"; to be loved, trusted, obeyed, rested on, but never to be measured, fathomed and understood. Sometimes from my hill-side home among the Highlands of the Hudson I see, fifty miles away, obscured by haze and overhanging clouds, and partially veiled, perhaps, in mist or rain, the distant outline of the Catskill range; and then the veil is drawn aside, the turbaned mist is lifted off their foreheads, and that which before was dim and indistinct stands out against the dark background of sky in clear, intelligible outline, yet leaving all the dress of grey rock and green tree and foaming cataract, and dark gloom, and flitting sunshine breaking through the trees, to the imagination; for at best it is only an outline I can see. So in the Old Testament I look upon the outline of my God veiled in cloud; in the New Testament the cloud is lifted, the mist is cleared away, and through an atmosphere like that of the most perfect October day I look on the same outline, distinct and beautiful against a heavenly background: and still it is but an outline that I see of the mystery and majesty of the nature I shall never know, never be able even to explore, until I stand in His presence and am invited to know Him even as I am known.
(Lyman Abbott, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.