September 29, 2010

The Movement of God - 22

Does holy ground stay holy forever?  Is Sinai still God's mountain, for example?  More generally, can any plot of land be the Lord's home forever, or does God claim ground only for some time, before moving on?

The fact that God moves wherever he wills probably means we should favor the second option.  But if so, then why did God bring Moses back to the site of their first encounter?  Why give the law in the same PLACE where the bush burned?

If the scholars are right (and they probably are) that Sinai & Horeb refer to the same Mountain, then God purposely brought Moses back to the same dirt He'd called "holy ground" once before. So, again - EITHER that Mountain had become sanctified for the long haul, OR God came back to re-sanctify the same ground for some other reason.  But if God is sovereign enough to claim any ground, then why go back to the same place?

Let's get the guessing out of the way.  Perhaps that consistency made it easier for Israel to believe. Perhaps the familiarity kept Moses' own confidence strong, and so his courage increased. Perhaps God just preferred Mount Sinai for some mysterious and/or peculiar reason of God's own.  Or perhaps it was simply a good location, remote enough from the rest of the world for God to be discrete?

Any or all of those could be part of what lay behind God's thinking.  But are we left with these guesses?

As it happens, we can actually do a bit better than that.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

Maybe he chose Sinai a second time because of what he knew that it would come to symbolize later...'covenantly' speaking.
Think Galatians 4:24-ish.

Bill Heroman said...

Any place God gave the Law would have become such a place, and Paul would have allegorized *that* place instead.

Comparing Abraham's slave woman with Sinai is pretty stretchy interpretation to begin with. Again, that's fine for Paul/Galatians, but it doesn't change what Sinai meant to God (and to Israel) during the Exodus.

Anonymous said...

I see what you're saying.
I think that I'm having a different conversation in my own head... comparing Torah to the Spirit, and a literal mountain to a 'Spiritual' mountain.

Bill Heroman said...

Very good, then.

Talk amongst yourselves. ;-)

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