Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Moses 1 as another sort of Fall story?

As we sat in Sunday School this past week, I had some thoughts that excited me.

First of all, I love love love the way Moses comes to know who he really is, and how he discerns between the light, love, purity, power, and goodness of God in contrast with the darkness, hate, counterfeit everything, puniness, and evil of the devil.

But Moses still has to work really hard to not succumb to the fear and bitterness that the devil brought into his experience.

And it felt as I pondered the story that there was a progression of how Moses responded, perhaps a mini creation-fall-atonement sort of story...with accompanying insights into how to overcome the influence of the devil (the fall) and progress spiritually.

First, he says, "I can judge between thee and God." I love that. He uses doctrine ("God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten") to stand up to the temptation.

I love, too, how Moses is anxious to get more revelation. He says, "I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him."

Twice he tells Satan to get/depart hence.

But then Satan seems to step it up a notch. Not seems, he does. He rants ("upon the earth" - hm, interesting phrase) and pretends to be Christ. (Makes my skin crawl just writing that.)

And Moses feels great fear, which causes him to see the "bitterness of hell."

It's a good thing that Moses had decided not to cease calling upon God, because it was only that that allowed him to have strength to, again, tell Satan to depart. He overcame the power of fear and had faith strengthened.

But the devil was not about to give up. He trembled, and the earth shook (again, interesting that the text talks about the impact on the earth, not just on Moses). This time, Moses received strength first (hm...) and then, "in the name of the Only Begotten" told Satan to depart.

It feels to me as though, over the course of this interaction, Moses gains more confidence and strength, to the point where he is able, through the power of the Christ and His Atonement -- using the name of Jesus Christ, even -- to overcome the adversary, and come again to a point where he could behold and enjoy the glory, presence, light, and blessings of God.

To me, this story feels a bit like a type of our own journey, the same sort of type that we get in the Adam and Eve story. First, Moses sees the wonder of God's creation. He is able to be in the presence of God for a while, but then that presence was withdrawn. While he was not left completely alone (v. 15 said that God's Spirit had not completely withdrawn), he was left to learn by his own experience to distinguish between light and truth and the evil one - and to act upon the light and truth. It took repetition, consistency, trust in doctrine, discernment, faith in Christ, obedience to commandments, and consistent prayer and spiritual effort to overcome the temptations of the devil. Each time as he leaned on the Lord, he received the strength -- even successively more strength, I think -- to come off the victor. As he was able to finally get Satan to leave his presence, he was blessed to behold the glory of God again, he was chosen to do God's work (to be a deliverer, one of my favorite types of Christ), and was given what seems similar to the sealing power (v. 25).

Elder McConkie once said that
God himself, the Father of us all, established a plan of salvation whereby his spirit children might progress and become like him. It is the gospel of God, the plan of Eternal Elohim, the system that saves and exalts, and it consists of three things. These three are the very pillars of eternity itself. They are the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement.
I see all three pillars in this wonderful chapter, Moses 1. And in it I see much wisdom in how we can overcome temptation, learn through faith and obedience to discern light from darkness, receive spiritual strength to face temptation, and come to know more and more about God, the creation, the atonement, and the purposes of life.

7 comments:

Julie P said...

I like your insights on this chapter. thank you

In The Doghouse said...

Loved the observation and comparison of Moses journey to that of Adam and Eve. Great insights.

Jennifer B. said...

Beautiful thoughts, m.

Jill said...

Thank you for helping Moses come alive to me. I look at this differently now....more in terms of him being a real person.

Ed Werder said...

This reminds me of how we are left alone in our trials at times. We say God is always there, and he is. But when he knows we can do it, that we need to do it on our own to progress and grow stronger, he steps away. If we continue faithful, even though he isn't obviously with us, we become stronger and learn more. Just like Moses.

jendoop said...

Ok, that was me that left that last comment. We have some weird glitch with google, they want to call me Ed Werder. I don't know Ed Werder. I don't want to be Ed Werder.

JoLyn said...

Wonderful thoughts on Moses. Thanks for sharing your pondering -- it's so great to discuss the scriptures. It makes them come alive. Thanks!