Monday, March 9th

“The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’”  Exodus 16:1-3

 

This week we’re going to join the children of Israel on their walk through the wilderness.  The wilderness wanderings, one of the defining experiences in shaping the cultural consciousness of Judaism, is tied deeply into our own lives as well for we have all tasted “wilderness experiences” along the way.

 

When we pick up the story, they have been out of Egypt for about 45 days.  They are complaining about being hungry and already starting to reframe their memories of life in Egypt.  To gain a little perspective on their complaints, remember that they had been enslaved in Egypt for 400 years.  They had been harshly abused, used as slave labor, their children targeted for extinction.  But now, after all of that, in less than two months of freedom, they want to go back and get a little more of that oppression.

 

There might be a lesson in this for us.

 

God wants us to be free.  Free to live, free to love, free to worship, free to serve, free to succeed.  God wants this freedom for all people, not a select few.  But this freedom is not without price or cost.  It is a freedom within a spiderweb of interconnected and interdependent relationships. Freedom thus comes with responsibilities.  Rooted in God’s love, God’s freedom makes us “response-able” people and our response leads us in seeking freedom for all.

 

The truth is, 400 years of slavery has caused the people to forget what freedom is like.  They have forgotten that the fleshpots and bread they remember with such yearning was only a rope of slavery around their neck.  Their time in the wilderness would become for them a living lesson in letting go of a past in preparation for accepting a new future.

 

Along the way, all complaints aside, God would provide for their needs.  Their needs, not their slavery-stained desires.

 

A little tidbit from the recovery movement comes to mind:  Don’t leave before the miracle happens.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, as we begin a new week, and as so many begin this week with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, we pray that you might teach us what you would have us know as we travel through the wilderness of our lives.  May we trust your provision and be open to the lessons along the way.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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2 Responses to “Monday, March 9th”

  1. Bill Says:

    I enjoyed this devotion it reminds me to look along the way for Gods leading, and to not give up on the lord so fast. I pray God will allow me to see his leading in my life

  2. Larry Says:

    I appreciate all of Kerry’s devotions, and I think this one also shares an important message.

    I only want to comment on one detail that doesn’t affect the point of the message: If I recall my biblical history correctly the children of Israel were only in slavery about 200 years. When Joseph invited his father and brothers and their families to move to Egypt about 400 years before the time of Moses, they were originally welcome guests of the Egyptians. I think it was with a change of dynasty in Egypt around 1500 B.C. that the Hebrews were enslaved.

    Kerry could make the same point by changing 400 to 200.

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