Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Life in the Desert

Moses must have seemed scary when he lifted his rod and it turned into a serpent. He must have seemed unusually powerful when he lifted his rod and the Red Sea parted. He brought back the Ten Commandments from God.

But there was just one problem. His people had short attention spans. After they were out of Egypt and on the other side of the Red Sea, they discovered that they didn't have enough food. All of a sudden, they were nostalgic for their former lives in Egypt. They had food in Egypt. OK. So they were slaves, but they were well fed, happy slaves. Really? Sometimes, nostalgia provides a bizarrely false image of the past.

The former well fed slaves experienced a miracle. They received bread from heaven and meat (quail). The food must have been delicious. It was called manna and it was white like coriander seed. It looked like wafers made with honey. They were able to store a great deal of the manna. It lasted for years.

These nomadic people kept traveling because they were walking to the promised land. They didn't have a compass and they walked in circles. Before long, they found themselves in a place where there was no water. Since human beings cannot survive long without water, these people were not doing well. Once again, they blamed Moses. They said that he led them into a certain death. Dying of thirst would not be a good way to go. Moses got an earful. He spoke to God about the complaints. He said that the people were ready to stone him. That would be a sad fate for Moses. God told Moses to strike a rock with his rod and water would come out of it. Sure enough, that was what happened, and the Israelites decided that Moses wasn't such a bad guy after all.

But Moses was a tired guy. It seems that he had to judge every last dispute and that he never got a moment's rest. That changed when his father in law, Jethro, arrived. He let Moses know that he had to work on delegating authority. Jethro gave Moses a system for delegating authority. Apparently, it worked. And that was a good thing because it wasn't like Moses could just go off for a nice vacation.

More on Moses later!

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