Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Don't hit!

[From 4/30/12]

"The Israelites, the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the 1st month, and the people stayed in Kadesh.  Miriam died there, and was buried there."
(Numbers 20:1)

In Numbers 20, Moses' sister, Miriam, dies.  One verse is all she's given.  Considering the impact she had on her brother's life (especially the early years!), it's kind of a shame.  But regardless of what the narrator says, her death had to have made a BIG impact on Moses.

The very next verse (2ff.) starts another incident of the Israelites' grumbling against God (and Moses).  It's a significant incident, as it eventually costs Moses a chance to enter the Promised Land.  The people want water.  There is none.  God instructs Mo & Aaron to call the people, then command a rock to yield water.  Instead, Moses hits the rock with his all-powerful staff (of 10 Plagues fame!).  This may seem like a minor difference (hitting vs. commanding).  But what's troubling is what he says before he hits the rock: "Listen, you rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?"

I think the "we" is he and Aaron... not them and God.  Moses was starting to believe his own press clippings and forgot it was GOD ALONE who held all the power.

But we can forgive him, can't we?  He'd just lost his sister.  He had no time to grieve when the people started grumbling about Moses taking them into the desert to die.  He'd just buried his sister, and the people (always leaning to the dramatic) complain of dying of thirst.  Dying? Really?  Taking time to grieve is important.  But we also need to remember that God is the one who has all the power & glory.

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