From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.”
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When we read the scriptures, there are two basic things happening. God is saying and doing stuff. People are saying and doing stuff. It occurs to me that, more often than not, we question what God is doing. We want to know why God does what God does. We question why God punishes. We question who God chooses. We question what God was thinking. We question God's motives. We never question what the people say or do. We spectate on the grand drama of the exodus from Egypt. We question why God made Pharoah such a pain. We question why God used plagues of frogs and locust and blood on doorposts as methods of persuasion and protection. We spend way too much time trying to figure out how God did the split the Red Sea thing. But when it comes to people who have been saved and freed complaining about the food, we think, "yeah, that's what we do." We look at it and see the fault in it even as we complain about our own lives in the next breath. We are, after all, "only human" which is our less than subtle way of blaming everything on God and taking no responsibility. When we turn the questions on ourselves- "Why did we say that to that person?" "Why did we do that?"- the scriptures become less of a spectator sport and more of journey of the discovery of our deepest need and our greatest hope.
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Holy God, may we be bold enough to exam ourselves in the light of your love. Amen.