A good actor plays his part, but he doesn’t get lost in his part. He never forgets who he really is although fully immersed in his role. Similarly, you are a soul playing a character. And you, soul, are a ray of God – the Soul of all souls, the Self of the universe. But if you get lost in your character and forget your true self you block your connection to God.
The prophet is a soul who can transcend his character and communes with God; the Great Self of all. Moses was the greatest prophet ever. He reached prophetic peaks where God would even speak out of Moses’ mouth. When we take a brief look at Moses early life, we see the roots of his extraordinary prophetic power.
Moses was born to a Jewish family during the time of their bitter oppression by the Egyptians. King Pharaoh issued a decree to kill all the Jewish baby boys. In desperation, Yocheved puts her new born baby in a basket and placed it among the reeds at the banks of the Nile River. Thanks to providence, the princess of Egypt comes along and finds this abandoned baby, names him Moses and takes him home. Ironically she ends up hiring Moses real mother to nurse the child so Moses grows up knowing he is a Jew and yet receiving the royal upbringing of an Egyptian prince. Moses, however, was a restless soul and wanted to share in the suffering of his Jewish brethren who were enslaved by the Egyptians. The first day he goes out of from being isolated in the palace he sees an Egyptian beating a Jew. Without hesitation he kills the Egyptian to save the Jew.
Realizing the implications of what he had done, he quickly hid the body and returned to the palace. You would think after a day like that he would just stay put and never go out again. However, the very next day Moses goes out. This time he sees a Jew about to beat another Jew. He is shocked. “Why would you strike your fellow?”
“Who appointed you as a dignitary, a ruler, and a judge over us? Do you intend to murder me as you did the Egyptian?” Moses was devastated— the word was out. The Jew that he had saved must have spread the word. Pharaoh also heard, and immediately issued orders to kill him. So Moses fled to the land of Midian. There he married a Midianite women whose family was excommunicated and harassed by the community. He moves in with her family and shepherds his father-in-law’s sheep. We can understand why Moses named his first son Gershom which alluded to his intense feeling of alienation. “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.”
It’s just after these painful words of Moses that the Torah narrates his first encounter with prophecy— the vision of the burning bush. This is no coincidence. Imagine the identity crisis of this man. He was a Jew but rejected by his people. He was the prince of Egypt but now a wanted fugitive. He once enjoyed royal status living in the palace of the king of Egypt and now he is a simple shepherd grazing in the desert. Here is a very lonely man. He has no real identity. However, it’s precisely his being stripped of his identity that freed his soul to bond with God. This identity crisis, the abandonment, loneliness and alienation freed Moses soul from getting lost in his character and thereby freed him to only identify with God.
Most spiritual journeys start with an identity crisis. As a soul we know that the only role worth playing is a humble servant of God; a vehicle for divine loving presence on earth.