Hamilton invites readers of every stripe to apply the lessons he learned along Moses’s path in their own daily lives.
In Moses: In the Footsteps of the Reluctant Prophet, pastor Adam Hamilton investigates “the single most important figure in the Hebrew Bible,” visiting sites associated with his life story. Blending historical research and personal application, he asks what lessons the life of Moses, particularly the exodus to the Promised Land, holds for Christians today.
The book is accompanied by a DVD tracking Hamilton’s travels in Egypt and Jordan, including Thebes (now Luxor), where Moses was born circa 1300 BCE, and Mount Sinai. Along the way, Hamilton draws connections between history, legend, and theology. He also notes where the stories of Moses have entered into popular culture, as in Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches.
Maps and black-and-white photographs help document the film crew’s travels through the Middle East. One highlight is St. Catherine’s Monastery (on the Sinai Peninsula), a UNESCO World Heritage Site that claims to be the location of the burning bush. Spending time in the wilderness is a recurring biblical trope, Hamilton remarks, and for Moses, this incident marked his transformation from a fugitive shepherd to a prophet on a divine mission.
If the Torah were a movie, Hamilton contends, it would bear the disclaimer “based upon actual events.” In other words, not everything must be taken literally. He cites two opposing methods of interpreting religious history: a “minimalist” might question the very existence of Moses, while a “maximalist” would accept every narrative about him as factual. Luckily Hamilton is somewhere in between, which makes him a perfect tour guide—he attributes theological significance to Moses’s life, but acknowledges that the Red Sea crossing and the Egyptian plagues may have natural rather than supernatural explanations.
It’s important to note that the book is directed at Christians rather than at Jews or secular scholars: the author interprets events, and especially the Ten Commandments, in the light of Jesus’s teachings. However, in asking “What does the story teach us about God … and about ourselves?” Hamilton invites readers of every stripe to apply lessons learned on the ground to daily life.
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