You have to wonder some times, what was wrong with those people? I speak of Israel in the time of Moses. I mean, really.

One reads Exodus with bewilderment over the stiffnecks of the Jews. I mean God sends them Moses and Plagues upon Egypt to secure their freedom so that they can be a nation pf priests to the world and they are moaning the whole time. God speaks the law directly to them. So direct and frightening was God’s communication with his chosen people that they begged Moses to speak to God alone for fear they would die. All this, the plagues, the pillar of flames, the parting of the sea, manna from heaven – all of it. Then Moses goes up the mountain for forty days and lickety-split there they were creating a golden calf and likely doing some other really bad things.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Go, get thee down: thy people, which thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt, hath sinned. They have quickly strayed from the way which thou didst show them: and they have made to themselves a molten calf, and have adored it, and sacrificing victims to it, have said: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt. And again the Lord said to Moses: I see that this people is stiffnecked: Let me alone, that my wrath may be kindled against them, and that I may destroy them, and I will make of thee a great nation.

Things were so bad that God was ready to write them off and start over but Moses pleaded on their behalf. Even so Moses, with the help of the Levites, killed thousands of the offenders.

This is what I was reflecting on today after going to confession. My confession today was pretty much the same as last month and the month before that. I recall just the other day on a plane reading the account in Exodus and remarking to myself, what is wrong with these people? After all God had done for them how could they have reverted so quickly? But so it is with me. Usually less than forty days, actually less than forty hours and I see myself committing the same sins over and over again.

God did so much for the Jews at that time, rescued them from bondage and gave them the law, but they would not abide it. But God has done so much more for me than he ever did for Israel at that time. He rescued Israel from their bondage but this freedom did not save their souls. He fed them with manna from heaven, but they still died. But the bread He gives to me saves me for eternity. The law he gives to me is the law of love, but I cannot abide. I, like Israel, am a stiffnecked ingrate committing the same sins over and over again.

When Israel turned their back on God breaking the covenant, Moses and the Levites executed a terrible judgment thereby earning their priesthood and Israel was made to wander the desert for forty years until that entire generation had passed. For my part, I got one Our Father and was good to go.

Doesn’t seem fair.