Midday Meditation

Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
: What is so interesting about the complaint of the
Israelites in today’s reading is that none of them had actually
experienced Egypt. This was near the end of their wilderness
wanderings, in which the entire generation that had refused to enter
the Promised Land had died. So, this was a completely new
generation with no memory or experience of living in Egypt. Yet, so
effective had their parents nurtured a spirit of unbelief that they still
harkened back to an Egypt they had never known. How easily the
slavery and suffering had been forgotten!
The curse of snakes may seem harsh, but the Hebrew word here is
strange. We do not know exactly what these snakes were. The word
can mean either “fiery” or “winged” snakes. The idea of winged
snakes may be a reference back to the winged snake goddess of
Egypt, meaning that the very thing that was destroying the people
was their desire for Egypt and its gods, and their refusal to place
their trust wholly in God. Once again, what initially looks like a harsh
divine judgment turns out to be simply the consequence of the
people’s actions. And their healing came through looking at a bronze
snake – looking at the very thing that was destroying them. What
God reveals here is that, until we are willing to look at our evil
honestly and consciously, we cannot be healed. But, if we will
acknowledge what destroys us, we can overcome it.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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