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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: March 18, 2024

Moses’s life is one that is filled with water-based pivotal events. As we heard in our reading from Exodus 2 today, when Pharaoh sentences the Hebrew boys to death, Moses is spared from that decree of condemnation by resting in a little ark upon the waters. And it’s this ark that delivers him into a royal house, into the family of the king, but not into the house of the King. Then, when Moses flees from that house after killing a man, he finds a new home, a new family, and in fact, finds a bride by the waters of a well, but not a bride from among his people. Through these waters, Moses becomes an Egyptian and a Midianite. But through these waters he doesn’t fully become the Hebrew, the Israelite that he is. That happens through God’s call of mercy, given to Moses in the burning bush.

And this, of course, fits with the theme of Moses’ life. Moses is a figure of the law, both in all its power and its limitations. The law can show you the path of salvation. The law can bring you to the brink of eternal life in the sense that it shows you the reward for those who perfectly obey God’s commands. But the law can’t actually deliver salvation. This is why, going back to the theme of water, Moses can bring the Israelites to the brink of the promised land, but he can’t actually bring them across the waters of the Jordan into the kingdom of peace.

So Moses had the waters that pointed forward to Christ. But thanks be to God you have the waters that contain Christ. In the waters of your baptism, you were also placed on an ark. But this ark didn’t deliver you into a foreign household. It delivered you into the household you were created to belong to forever, the household of God. 

Likewise, in holy baptism, you have the waters that brought you to the wedding feast, the waters that lifted you out of exile in the wilderness and made you one with the great High Priest. There in those waters, you joined the church, the bride of Christ, and were clothed in His salvation.

In all of this, in the waters of holy baptism, you have the Savior who came to Moses in the burning bush. You have the salvation that Moses spoke of but couldn’t deliver. Here in these saving waters, you have home, family, peace, forgiveness, and life everlasting. And in these waters, you always will.

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