Just then, the Lord’s cloud drifted overhead. ‘Oh, it’s you,’ called the Lord from the cloud.
‘Yeah,’ replied Moses awkwardly. ‘I think we need to clear the air.’
‘Hmm. I don’t really know what you want me to say.’
‘Look, I know I went off at you and everything, but I’m struggling to understand where you’re coming from.’
‘Clearly,’ sneered the Lord.
‘Instead of having an attitude, Yahweh, why don’t you tell me where you’re coming from?’
The Lord’s anger grew, and the cloud flickered with lightning.
‘Hey!’ scolded Moses. ‘Enough of that shit! You’re not impressing anyone!’
The lightning stopped.
‘That’s better,’ said Moses. ‘Now talk to me. Use your words.’
The Lord sighed, and then said, ‘You know, when I had a relationship with the forefathers of the Israelites, they would praise me, build me altars, and barbecue lots of dead animals for me. I was their God, and they followed me without question.’ He paused for a moment. ‘Then Jacob’s kid Joseph gets himself into trouble and ends up in Egypt. Now, I looked out for the lad. I gave him the power to interpret dreams and got him a job working for Pharaoh. He prospered because of me. Soon, the whole family moved down to Egypt away from the land that I promised them. Despite living in Egypt, for a few generations, Jacob’s descendants kept the ways of their fathers, making sacrifices, praising me, and all the rest.’
The Lord’s voice began to quaver. He continued, ‘Several generations later, they just stopped paying me any attention. Nobody was praying to me, nobody was giving me stuff, and I was basically reduced to being a folktale; a character in a story told to children at bedtime. It hurt!’ The Lord began to sob. ‘Fast forward several hundred years, and Pharaoh has my people working as slaves. All of a sudden, people start calling out for me to come and save them. I, being the soft-hearted God that I am, decide to help them.’ He sniffled. ‘But, despite calling out to me for help, nobody built me an altar. Nobody got down on their knees to really grovel when they prayed.’ His voice took on a bitter tone. ‘It’s not enough for them to cry out to me when they need a fucking favour, I want them to worship me, to fear me, and to serve me some goddamned dead animals cooked the way I like them! Is that too much to ask?’
Moses and Aaron looked at each other in astonishment.
‘So,’ began Moses, ‘are you keeping the Israelites enslaved to punish them for not worshipping you?’
‘No, I’m not trying to punish them!’ barked the Lord. ‘I’m sending all the plagues to the Egyptians to demonstrate to the Israelites that I exist and I’m powerful!’ He broke into tears. ‘Maybe then, they’ll start to worship me like they used to.’
The cloud was now raining a torrent upon Moses and Aaron.
‘Em… there there,’ soothed Aaron pulling his cloak over his head to shelter from the rain, but the Lord seemed inconsolable.
‘Oh, for fuck’s sake!’ exclaimed Moses. ‘Get a fucking hold of yourself!’ Aaron tried to shush him, but Moses continued, ‘I don’t believe what I’m hearing! You’re the most powerful being in the universe, and here you are blubbing because humans aren’t licking your arse and telling you what a great God you are? I… It’s just…’ Moses was lost for words.
Aaron was getting nervous. He said to Moses, ‘Jesus Christ, you’re just going to upset him more!’
‘I don’t fucking care!’ retorted Moses. ‘He’s not a child! He’s not even a bloody human! He’s supposed to be above all of this shit!’ Then he turned his attention back to the cloud, which was still downpouring onto the ground. ‘Listen, Yahweh. I know it’s nice to be appreciated, but this is beyond a joke! If you want people to praise you, you have to start being praiseworthy! Nobody is going to bow down to a God that goes into histrionics every time he doesn’t get his way!’
The rain abated, and the sound of God sniffing echoed from the sky. ‘You’re right,’ he said sombrely. ‘I need to pull myself together. I have to be the kind of God that the Israelites want to worship!’
‘Now you’re talking!’ cheered Moses.
‘I’m going to quit the petty parlour tricks like lice and flies!’ pronounced the Lord resolutely.
‘I’m going to win my people back in a way that shows them, I’m a God to be counted on!’
‘So, you’re going to go to Pharaoh and say to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may worship me.’” And if he refuses to let them go, I’m going to kill all of his fucking livestock!’
Moses slapped his forehead in dismay.