Today's reading is Numbers, chapters 9 through 21. Lots more of hearing the people grumble against ADONAI with just a few mentions that they did as ADONAI commanded. I would think the people would start to catch on... I guess they weren't any better at obedience then than we are now!
A few things that gave me pause:
- Numbers 9 talks about when the people camped and when they moved. The moving part really strikes a chord with me right now since I'm working on packing for a move. I realize that they didn't have as many goods to pack and move as we accumulate in today's world but it still would take time. And think of the tent of meeting - it would need to be disassembled and reassembled each time they moved. We're taught that the people did obey ADONAI by observing His presence and moved when the cloud was taken up from the temple. What really struck me was that sometimes the cloud would stay on the temple for only a day at a time. That would mean a move each day. As much as I want to believe that I would have been more like Moshe in humility and obedience, I'm afraid I would have grumbled selfishly just from the moving aspect.
- ADONAI had a structured plan for everything that involved his people. Even the camp sites were defined and the order of the tribes for traveling. When there's chaos in my life, I can look to God for structure that will put me in his will.
- Moshe invited his brother-in-law, Hovav, to join them. After hesitation, Hovav agreed. I don't know if Hovav agreed just because Moshe told him that he would share in all the good things ADONAI was going to provide to his people or if there was a less selfish reason. But what a concept... make a decision to return to your family where you live a normal life with a variety of foods and not being uprooted on a continual basis, or accept the invitation to live among the people where God is present continually and is personally leading their leader! That sure is a contrast between the carnal and the spiritual.
- I got a perception of the people as being quite negative in all things, from today's reading. For example, when the promised land was reconnoitered by the twelve men, only Joshua and Caleb had good reports about it. And this was after they even had proof of the fine food to be found there. Compare that with many of our experiences. We tend to be overly optimistic about things we'd like to have. Sometimes, we need to be reminded to stay grounded and realistic. I don't know if they were more pessimistic by nature or culture or based on experience but I tried to find any light of optimism and hope in today's reading and it just wasn't there. It's hard to imagine a people being personally led by God who can't find the bright side of anything.