“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
Let’s talk a little more about Moses’ miracles. His miracles are often signs of judgment upon the people. They would have surely provoked opposition from the people if there were sufficient grounds to do so. Yet, the people gave credibility to Moses’ miracles because their own experience of the miracles confirmed them. Now, there was always the possibility of trying to explain away these miracles by claiming they were “magic” (Exodus 9:11). But this objection really doesn’t make sense because Moses explicitly abhorred magic. In fact, he commanded that anyone who was soothsayer or a magician be pelted with stones until he/she died (Leviticus 20:27).
Possibly, it could be claimed that Moses was a fraud and a hypocrite: On the one hand, he condemned magic; while on the other hand, he used it himself. But frauds typically try to boost their reputation with the people. But what does Moses do? He claims that he and his brother are nothing (Exodus 16:7). All he claims to be doing is what God told him to do. Again, let’s consider the facts. What kind of magical incantation could have caused manna to rain from the skies? The manna also sustained all the people of Israel but would turn rotten if anyone of the Israelites gathered too much!
God also put Moses through the ringer. The people regularly rose up in rebellion against him. Others conspired to take him out. The question remains to be answered: could deceptive tricks been enough for him to escape the wrath of the people? No. The sufferings of Moses plainly show that his teaching was true and recognized by all succeeding generations of Israelites.