The central theme of the readings and gospel is that God is and we are not. Let me clear that up though: when the Lord says to Moses “I am” Yahweh states his name. He proclaims that He is God in front of Moses. Moses at this moment is terrified of delivering God’s will; blatantly, he is worried that he is not ready to take on the task of standing up to pharaoh, much less speaking to an entire crowd of Israelites. We have to remember that Moses, as a character, is entirely human. He has his fears. He has his aspirations and above all he is selected to take part in a mission that is greater than his own. His will is his own, but God’s will is greater.
Now that being said, imagine that God summons you directly. He speaks to you and he makes you his chosen speaker for an entire crowd of people. Perhaps he wants you to address the Palestinians Israeli conflict, or the Syrian Civil War; he wants you to resolve that conflict by speaking to a despot in great power. And he makes that leader’s heart be “hardened” so that even though you speak, any leader cannot be swayed by your simple words.
Well, this was Moses’s situation. He became a pupil of the Lord God and he was asked to do something so radical and sudden that it almost seemed impossible, and even when Aaron spoke on his behalf, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. So if God is merciful and loving, according to his begotten Son, why in this story does God allow Pharaoh’s heart to be hardened? Well, I could say that the reason that God brought upon the Egyptians the plagues was that in each he defied every lesser god to show that He is and the other gods are not. But this is only a speculation. At the heart of it God has a greater will than we can even imagine; in Exodus, the story, Moses prevailed, and approximately 3 million escaped Egypt.
So what is the point in all of my rambling? Well, we, as human beings who are not gods, cannot possibly see what lies ahead. True. We cannot always trust that we will always make the right choices. Also true. And we cannot predict our own paths in full. Again true. For that is what makes life so wonderful; the arcane and the mysterious are what push us toward our own discovery of life. And I will elaborate.
The story of the Exodus is a mysterious one, but it is still a compelling story, nonetheless. Three million Israelites escape out of Egypt; the slaves become the masters of their destinies by trusting in a God they hardly know who will later become their teacher: exalt them in their weakness and challenge them to be better people.
We are all traveling on separate roads toward mysterious destinations which we cannot see. We have to trust in our wills and our minds to bring us towards those goals, but also hope that we as the characters are playing our part in the much bigger story. It is our curiosities which drive us to be that much more human; naturally, we become curious, we develop our minds and we experience life for what it is. We must remember that we are human, and not gods. Our humility is essential to our human character, so that we may be curious, we may challenge ourselves, and we may find solace in appreciating the much bigger picture: the one that is left to be explored.