Canticle of Moses I – Hebrew Slaves View

One day you are our there living your life of slavery in Egypt.  Its a day like any other day in your life.  You wake up you start your slogging around in the mud pits to make bricks for the Pharaohs latest project and getting whipped on occasion to make you work faster.  You drink lots of water and you just keep stomping that straw into the mud until the day is done.  The most you can home for is to love a long life and eek out some kind of joy in your family and community life.

Next thing you know you get word that the Pharaoh has set you all free.  Tomorrow you leave for the promised land.  Hold on a moment !  How are you going to eat ?  who is going to provide all this stuff for you ?  Are you going to leave Egypt  to die in the desert ?  This Moses says its going to be fine and you need to have faith !    However, I have a job I know what I am supposed to do, what will I do if and when I get there ?  There is no need for what I am good at where we are going what I dong to do ?  How am I going to live ?  Still, a life of a free man is better than a life of a slave any day !

So you pack up your home and you are excited .. thrilled at the possibility of a new FREE life !  You trek across the desserts of Egypt and you arrive at the Red Sea.  You hear a familiar sound, and you know that sound well.. It is the sound f the chariots of Pharaoh’s soldiers who are coming to get you and drag you back to the slave pits.

This will not be good.  You are thinking that they will whip us and beat us and our freedom was very short lived.  As the soldiers draw near you get that rock in the pit of your stomach.  You think to yourself ” Am I going to die today.. here.. in the dessert “?   You pray and you hear Moses pray and then you hear the rush of the wind and a wall of fire appears out of the sand blocking the soldiers from coming closer.

OK, that helps but you still are trapped against the sea, that fire is amazing !  We have never seen anything like that.  God must indeed be with us !

Moses moves over to that rock and lifts up his staff , and suddenly the sea parts and now he thinks we should all go walk through the sea !  Never has anything like this happened before.    OK, so the choices are …. stay and die at the hands of the soldiers or go through the sea and you might die …. but you might not.    You are already committed to this journey and so forward you go.

You trudge through the sea bottom, looking at the wonders of the sea along the way in total amazement and maybe disbelief.  Finally you reach the other side and is on the rocks on this side of the sea is Moses again.. The last of the you makes it across the sea and the soldiers of Egypt are now in the middle of the sea heading for you..  You hear the rush of the wind and the sea collapses on them, drowning the soldiers in the sea.

How do we relate to this view of the Hebrew slave ?


You may feel like your life is like the slave before the exodus .  A life that is limited, barren, devoid of any real meaning ?  Maybe you feel as though , like the slave waiting for the promised Messiah, you are waiting endlessly for your life to change.  You may feel like your life has little purpose aside from going through your lifes’ steps going from one point to another just because you feel you have no choice, and no different future.

Maybe today you see yourself on the journey. Your life is in flux and everything is changing.  Maybe you didn’t ask for all these changes , and stuff just keeps happening all around and to you.  Possibly your nervous, and uneasy about the future.  Maybe you are entering into a new phase in your life.  Married, divorced, or having a baby.  What ever it is you might feel a bit powerless or unprepared.


You may see yourself on the other side of this story.  You have come through this part of your   journey and you have survived.  You are just soaking it all in and you think to yourself that you might just be alright !

On this journey it is important to remember that God is in the journey in the beginning , bringing about the freedom, in the middle , where you are on the journey , watching over you and protecting you, and in the end , bringing you safely through bringing peace.

But like the Exodus , the story does not end there.  The journey for the slave does not stop there, there are more journeys  to make, more experiences ahead.  With each journey in our lives we can see the hand of God when we open our hearts to the lessons  our journeys bring us.





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One Response to “Canticle of Moses I – Hebrew Slaves View”

  1. SaintlySages Says:

    Mark, Thank you for this excellent reflection on the Canticle of Moses. I occurs to me that the way through the sea (Ex 14) can perhaps be seen as a figure of the narrow way to eternal life (Mt 7:14). Had any escaping slave deviated from the narrow way opened up by God, he would have walked into a wall of water and perished. Similarly, Christ wisely exhorts us to remain on the narrow way. God bless!

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