Friday, May 20, 2011

Numbers: Chapter 21

Have you ever run into somehow who argues historically--not hysterically, historically? That’s what the Israelites are doing here with their complaining. Diverted to a circuitous route to their destination, at least they are still moving forward. However, instead of even focusing on the more immediate negatives, they are moaning again about the manna! Interesting note from the commentary about the manna: diet deficiencies will cause foot swelling. Forty years of desert marching and no recorded complaints about foot swelling--must be the honey-flavored wafers had a solid nutritional content. Complaints are often above non-essentials; complaining reflects a cranky heart.

We are created to worship; God will send us aids to do that if we don’t get our hearts in order. He sent the Israelites venomous snakes and their hearts were removed to repentance. That was a great result! Early on the Israelites had been certain they could follow God’s commands; at last they realize their promises are rather hollow. What a joy when we finally receive the gift of tears and recognize our only plea is for the mercy of God. Life-giving healing was found by looking to the brass serpent on the pole; brass the metal of sacrificial offerings lifted up. For us as Christians, the life-giving focus is Jesus Christ, crucified.

What a lovely closing for this chapter: a song of praise and thanksgiving. In stead of whining about water, they praised God for provision and He provided! That is the way our God is--let’s praise Him now!

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