Day 35 - March 31
Wesley Theological Seminary M.Div. student; came to Wesley by way of alum Rev. Jana Green, Senior Pastor of Oak Forest UMC, Director of the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Wesley Foundation
Always keeping a smile on my face
Hope in the Midst of a Wilderness Experience ~ Numbers 21:4-9
Have you ever felt that you had been dealt a bad hand by God? How about the communities of which you find yourselves being a part? What about your church body or denomination? If you have, then you are not alone. When reading Numbers 21:4-9 you will find the Israelites come to Moses because their plight seems to be anything but inviting. They have been traveling a number of miles, and just think, this travel was on foot. To add to injury, they are stuck in a wilderness with no water or food so it seems logical that they would go to the one who delivered God’s words to them. The Israelites had sinned by speaking against God and Moses; therefore, the Lord punished them by sending poisonous snakes and as a result there were many deaths.
Post the punishment of the Lord, the people had a heart of repentance. Simplistically, repentance does not only mean to turn away from or to change direction, but it also means to change one’s mind. Moses prayed for the Israelites, and the Lord gave hope to the community. The passage ends with Moses being instructed to make a bronze snake and put it on the pole. When the people were bitten they could look at it for healing. Instead of assured death, he provided healing for those who were bitten by snakes. Even in such a difficult text let us be reminded as a community that though we may not always get it right, God gives us a chance to be reconciled and healed. There is always a glimmer of hope in a wilderness experience.