Set My People Free: Moses and the Israelite People
About ten or twelve centuries before Jesus was born, the Lord chose a man named Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to freedom in a land that God would give them. God sent Moses to Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler, to demand the release of the Israelites. After a series of plagues such as swarms of frogs, flies, locusts, and, finally, a plague of death, the Egyptian ruler finally agreed to free the Israelites. Moses led them out of Egypt and into the desert wilderness.
Whenever something went wrong along the journey, the people complained against Moses and God, and Moses had to try to settle them down and teach them to trust in God. Other times when God wanted to destroy the Israelites because of their rebelliousness, Moses had to beg God to show kindness and forgiveness. Moses was a special friend of God, God's representative to the Israelites. And Moses was the leader of the Israelites, their representative to God.
At Mount Sinai in the desert, God made a covenant with the people through Moses. A covenant is a binding agreement based on love. In this agreement, God's tremendous love was revealed. The Israelites became God's chosen people, and they promised that they would obey God. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and other rules that the people were to live by. These rules were based on God's great love for the chosen people. The Israelites did nothing to deserve the privilege they were given.
As time went on, the Israelites did not always keep their part of the agreement. They often fell back into worshiping other gods. Yet, in spite of their unfaithfulness, they remained precious to God; God continued to show everlasting love to them, the chosen people. The main parts of the story of Moses are found in Exodus, chapters 1-20, 24, and 32-34.
Excerpted from Living Our Catholic Faith. Copyright © 1998 by HI-TIME Publishing, Dayton, OH, 45449. Used with permission of publisher.