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Bible Time Period: Desert Wanderings
You taught Israel to walk in faith through 40 years’ wandering in the desert: Help me to trust in you today, O God.
The Ark of the Covenant leads the people as they go out from Mt. Sinai as a conquering army. This is an ongoing reminder that God is establishing this kingdom, and it is his power – not theirs – that will determine the victory. In the readings today, Israel prepares to leave and departs from Sinai, heading to the plains of Moab. Chapters 11 and 12 show some of the growth pangs in leadership as a tribe is formed into a nation.
God continued to provide for His people in the desert. How did they respond, and what was the result?
Join the discussion below!
A familiar chord struck me while reading Numbers 9-12. Besides being a stiff necked people, the Israelites seemed quite impatient with all the rules God set forth for them to succeed as His chosen people and to enter the promised land. They complained, they didn’t follow the rules and there was fear of the Lord after their inappropriate deeds were done.
Wow! I just realized that the Book of Numbers is speaking to me about my life. I am one of those chosen people (you know, the complainers) with somewhat different rules, but rules all the same. When the certain few ate the quail without following the rules, they perished. Nowadays, that doesn’t really happen because of the safety procedures meat plants, etc. must adhere to, BUT a person could be dead spiritually! All because the rules were not followed. The most significant passage about the Passover rules shot a chill up my spine! Those that are unclean cannot participate in the proper Passover. I look upon this in the here and now as you need the act of reconciliation to cleanse your soul of sin, then and ONLY then, can you partake of the Holy Eucharist!! How often have I put off this VERY important sacrament because I was “too busy with errands, etc.” My goal from this reading is to make my spiritual growth the top priority in life, not the second or third!
I did get off the subject of answering the question, but this is a revelation to me! Thank you Sarah for being a catalyst in my spiritual growth.
This is what I love about this discussion board…..we have a prompt to get us going but the conversation can easily turn elsewhere! I too paused over the Passover regulations. What struck me was that God made allowances for those who were in a state of uncleanness or on a journey. They could celebrate during the second month, 14th day, at twilight. They were not abandoned but instead able to participate when they were ready. This is exactly what God wants from us, to come to Him when we are ready. The Sacrament of Reconciliation provides us with just that, an opportunity to turn to God when we are ready because, as we know, God is ALWAYS ready to receive us. Thank you, for sharing your revelation!
You took the thought out of my head – when I read this, I saw myself in Church and thinking of the Eucharist. Some that are with mortal sin should not be partaking in the banquet until they have entered grace through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
nice!! sounds like conversion!! these readings are allowing you to turn to God and gradually surrender to his forgiveness as well as the illusion that anything seperates us from him.We are aware and accept that God is the center and source of our being. today is St Paul’s feast day.what a conversion story he had!!
Chuck, I can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the information. What a day this will be for me!
St. Paul’s conversion was dramatic. God chose him to tell the people about Himself and the Gospel to “the ends of the earth.” He is still telling us through St. Paul and others and the Gospels in the Bible and the Church, bishops, pope, and priest. St. Paul calls people today to convert like he did. God works in him and others today.
Which just goes to show you the power of God. We must look at ALL people as God’s chosen people. NOBODY is so hopeless that God cannot convert them or use them to further the kingdom and proclaim His glory.
Thank you for the good remark and makes me think–St. Peter was told that all people were welcome in the Kingdom of God in the Acts of the Apostles. (And that is why we have to keep praying for all poor sinners for we all are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God). God showed him that all foods were good to eat and not just Jewish foods. God showed him a tent with all kinds of animals on it. St. Peter said that the Gentiles as well as Jews were acceptable to be Christians. The first Council of the Church at Jerusalem had to deal with these problems and St. Peter was looked upon as the leader. The objections by Jews against Gentiles concerning circumcision were no longer necessary. “Anyone upright and God fearing who wished to follow Jesus could become a Christian.” St. Paul went out to convert the Gentiles. The movie “St. Peter” on EWTN (such wonderful programming by Mother Angelica) with actor Omar Sharif does a good job of presenting a glimpse of the Acts of the Apostles. Jeff Cavins has an excellent course which I took on “The Acts of the Apostles.” And another one that I took also featured by Ascension Press was “The Book of Revelation.”
That was a great movie… I saw it with my bible study group. Reveation was one of my all-time favorite studies. You really get an undersatanding of what all that strange sounding symbolic writings meant to a first century audience (who wouldn’t have found it strange at all!) Acts is one of the few studies I haven’t done. I actually missed the Timeline so I’m really looking forward to Jeff’s visit next month when he’s going to present the Timeline in a Day. http://immaculateconception.org/images/SomervilleNJ_Feb21_BTL_Flyer_2015.pdf
Sounds like an interesting seminar. The Bible Timeline is going on here now in the Midwest in Illinois. What a wonderful educational system of Catholic parishes we have here! I watched some of the Timeline on EWTN with Jeff Cavins and Scott Hahn. You can listen to the audio, “Our Father’s Plan” which is the first that came out on the capsule of history of the Books of the Bible and now more detailed I am sure with the course you are talking about. You are probably familiar with it. Here is the link–http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=-306548622
Or just google in “Timeline of the Bible on EWTN” and you should get a lot of things on it including in bold print “Our Father’s Plan” which brings you with a click to the audio on EWTN.
Thank you all for your input! I am still in shock that I didn’t notice this short coming of mine. I am rejoicing in my discovery and discovering that I have many fences to mend! This will be such a spiritual adventure! May God bless you all
You are not alone! I am embarrassed to admit it but I too could be one of the complainers. I am also like Moses when he was whining about having to put up with all those people complaining about meat and water and how much better off they were in Egypt etc. etc. etc. 🙂
We are all like Moses and the Hebrew’s. Like them we are all human and could relate.
The people were dissatisfied with what God had been providing & complained, even Moses complained; they should have stayed in Egypt, they wanted meat, why is Moses the leader (this from Moses’ own family), etc. God heard their complaints and gave them meat, for example, but they were now going to get lots of meat (until it came out of their noses). This made me smile & struck me as comical; be careful what you complain about. God did listen to Moses’ complaint and provided Moses some assistance in dealing with the people by assigning elders.
Yes Julie S., “even Moses complained.” The book said, “Moses is a humble man, more than all men who were on the face of the earth. Yet if Moses was so humble, and if Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, we wonder how a humble man could possibly call himself the most humble man on the face of the earth. In all likelihood, someone added this comment after the death of Moses – perhaps Joshua, who would have known Moses well.
I is important to see Moses didn’t start out as the most humble man on earth;
he grew up proud and confident in his abilities. It was only time, desert time, lowly time, that made him a humble – and greatly usable – man. But really to harmonize this is God all powerful, nothing is impossible.
The Isrealites are a grumpy lot even though they witnessed first hand how the Lord delivered them from Egypt and His wonderful deeds. What a stiff necked nation indeed! Kind of good lesson here for us to be grateful and patient and not demanding like spoilt kids. Then again such behaviour can so happen to any one of us I guess. Sorry, sorry Lord!
Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses?
This attack attempted to put Moses down, making him seem proud. After
all, it should matter nothing to Aaron and Miriam if indeed the LORD had
spoken only through Moses. Their real charge was that Moses “goes about
acting as if he is the only one the LORD speaks through,” accusing
Moses of pride.
Did the LORD indeed only speak through Moses? No and yes. Of course, the
LORD had spoken through many in the Book of Exodus already: The LORD
spoke the people through Aaron in Exodus 4:30; He spoke to Aaron in Exodus 12:1; Miriam herself spoke words inspired by God in Exodus 15:21. But in the sense of there being one leader for Israel, there was only one. Moses, under God’s hand, had the authority and the accountability to lead the people.
All Scripture is the inspired Word of God, written for our benefit and instruction. I agree with Julie, pnkyB4brain, and Rosebud in everything they have said. God gives us what we want when we ask or complain-and uses it for our instruction…The older I get, the more I see that every event, every person I meet, is a season meant for us to learn from. God forms us into who He wants us to be through what we go through-whether that be good or bad. How well we learn the lessons provided, is up to us…I love the story of Miriam…for she had tested God and His choice of leaders (Moses)…and God made her leprous and sent her from the camp for seven days…hard lesson to have to learn about submitting to God’s Will…but how like us…I know there have been times I have had to learn hard lessons as well…only in my case, I became angry with God and didn’t submit readily…I only wish now, I had had this story of Miriam to fall back on as how we need to submit to God’s holy Will for us…So for me, this also points out the importance of being familiar with all of Scripture and what God tells us about how to live our lives. Also points out the need to teach this to our children and grandchildren…so they will have a basis of living their lives in a Godly manner.
Your words resonate my feelings completely. Your comments were to the point and bringing up Miriam was a story that needs to be remembered! Thank you Beverly.
Miriam being sent from the camp for 7 days for her sin, is like us doing our assigned penance in the sacrament of Reconciliation, a way of making up in some way for our transgression.
Beverly, Just consider today as the start of your spiritual growth. It is always the right time for God. Thanks for sharing.
Now the man Moses was very humble: Moses had no problem with pride. Quite the contrary – his accusers were the ones with a pride problem.
If this genuinely humble man Moses was accused of pride and a dictatorial
manner, it should show us that the accusation can be made and is made
against others who do not deserve it. Just because a man is accused of
pride or arrogance doesn’t mean he is guilty of it. This is what happening to us very often in the real life if your boss intrusted you with some duties and responsibilities at work.
God’s dramatic appearance to Miriam and Aaron. Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward.
Suddenly, there was no long delay. Many of God’s judgments are long in coming, at
least from a human perspective – but on occasion, He does bring His justice suddenly.
Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting! God called – seemingly, in an audible voice – for all three to come before the tabernacle of meeting. Perhaps Miriam and Aaron thought that God would use this situation to correct Moses, whom they thought was
proud and dictatorial.
Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud. God took a personal, powerful interest in this important matter. He wanted to make His will plainly known.
The LORD was with the Israelites always. No doubt ,the LORD really stood guard and watched over his people. The Israelites broke camp when the Cloud moved forward. But the people complained and Moses was so much distrurbed that even he complained . I was surprised by the revolt Aaron and Miriam.
Hi Mark, that “revolt” was a reflection of their jealousy over their kid brother. They were jealous that God spoke “only” to Moses. And how did Moses respond to their jealousy; he prayed to God on their behalf. Note that Miriam’s skin disease was a manifestation of her sin. The message is that sin affects the soul and body. It effects those around the sinner. It is not just something one could keep hidden. It shows itself to others visibly. One can’t hide from one’s sin. Peace be with you, Mark.
Thanks Joe. God Bless
Chapter 11 is the key to today’s question – the 2nd Passover was ‘relived’ in the hearts of the Hebrew’s and have been on the march with God getting closer to the Promised Land. Note the similarity between the Passover’s ‘reliving’ of that event and the Eucharist…..
On the third day of the journey, the people began to complain to Moses and to God for their discomfort of travel that seemed to never end. Their hunger drove them to focus on their basic needs rather than God. This brings to mind Jesus’ time in the dessert for 40 days before His ministry. He too was hungry and the devil tempted Him with food and power and still Jesus kept His focus on God. Perhaps this instance of the Hebrew’s in the desert failing their journey is to remind us of Jesus. Reflection – how many times have we complained because things are not going our way asking the Lord “why?” Perhaps our approach to the unfortunate circumstances is to pray to God and say “Lord, forgive me for I don’t understand what is happening but I trust you oh Lord that you will see me through it. Despite the promises that God had made to the people of good things to come, they still complained [remember this was shortly following their Passover celebration that freed them from slavery]. The people were focusing on what they did not have rather than the journey of being with God. They thought of themselves. Hearing this, the Lord responded with supposed wrath sending an inferno throughout and to the far reaches of the camp. The people, in fear asked Moses to pray for them for which Moses did. The fires stopped. The symbolism of the “fire” is paramount in understanding the outcome of their complaining. The Hebrew’s like ourselves fall victim to fear of the unknown; fear of what might happen if the unfortunate circumstance continues. The inferno in the story is meant to highlight the burning and ripping of our inner beings when we allow the fear to overtake us and not trust in God.
Moses also became tired of the responsibility of managing this exodus. He preferred death over having to care for the Hebrew’s. Reflection – how many times have we tired of our own works for the Lord because we feel that something is being taken from us? Rather, every time we work for God, we receive spiritual treasures that lend to a happy and fulfilling life; more than any earthly gift could ever be. The Lord responded to Moses’ frustration with mercy – God told Moses to gather 70 elders around the meeting tent where Moses would pass down his Holy Spirit to the elders so that they may take on the responsibility of shepherding the Hebrew’s [a foreshadowing of the Bishops ordaining the priests with the Holy Spirit to serve God]. The elders were given the ability to prophesy. There were two elders (Eldad and Medad) that could not attend to the meeting but were designated as elders. The Spirit also fell upon them as well and they began to prophesy in the camp. When Joshua heard them prophesy, he ran to Moses to complain to him. Moses responded to Joshua that he wished that everyone had the Spirit within them (it would make his life so much easier).
The Lord told Moses that he would send food in the form of meat to the Hebrew’s. Moses questioned the Lord by saying that there were 6,000 soldiers – there wasn’t enough meat to satisfy them. For all that the Lord had done for the Hebrew’s Moses doubted God’s ability to deliver them from their hunger. Reflection – could we ever be completely convinced of God’s infinite love for us; will we always question and doubt when it comes to God? The Lord said “is this beyond the Lord’s reach?” A foreshadowing of Jesus’ miracle of the loaves. A wind [the Holy Spirit] came from all around the camp sending quail for the people to consume. There was so much for all to eat and still the people sinned. Not only did some not bless God for this gift of meat but they began to hoard the meat for themselves – greed spread throughout the people. The Lord responded with a plague that killed the greedy among the people. Perhaps what happened is that a sickness broke out among the people (symbolized as the effects of greed) and God refrained from saving the ones that were greedy because their sin separated them from the Holy Spirit – God is portrayed as vengeful in this passage as opposed to all loving (but if you look closely, you’ll see the mercy of God in ensuring that the Hebrew’s receive all that they truly need).
Very nicely written, Joe. Isn’t that true that God is perceived as vengeful but only as seen through the lens of the Israelites not content with all the Lord provided to them. The problem is that too often WE know what we need more than GOD knows what we need. Thankfully God is a loving God who wants the best for each of us we only need turn to Him and live by His laws.
You’re so right. Perception is everything when reading these marvelous works.
Thanks Joe. Your insights are wonderful and I find them illuminating and instructive. Actually, every one here has some wonderful insights. Thanks to all
Thank you for the prayer- Lord forgive me….. Asking for forgiveness when we waiver – perfect for those difficult times when we too are like the doubting Israelites
I learn so much from you, Joe, and many others in this study! Thank you all for sharing your insights!
God did continue to provide for His people in the desert but that just wasn’t enough for them. They wanted more. (Meat) I feel like this is how our world is living today….we are never satisfied with what we have; there is always something more we “need.” In my opinion, this must anger and sadden God as He looks down on those that are living for their next epicurean feast, or designer label handbag. Although I don’t put myself into the examples I listed, there are many others of which I am certain I do fall into. This is the challenge I feel we face living in this “it’s all about me society.” We aren’t satisfied with what we have and often become jealous of what others have (Miriam and Aaron.) How do we live in the world and be a true servant of and to God but not succumb to the often irresistible enticements in the world? I feel this especially as I become more aware of and drawn to those who are suffering from sickness, loneliness, sadness, hopelessness, homelessness poverty and hunger. Moses gave everything to the Israelite people because he truly wanted to be God’s servant. What a beautiful message. Even when Moses was weak he cried out to the Lord, “I cannot carry all of this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me,” God provided support to Him through the Elders. Through prayer and adopting an attitude of servitude to the Lord, just like Moses, we can all be brought closer to God. Why is it that words that are so simple to write are not so easily lived?
You expressed the intent of these chapters perfectly. There is so much about human behavior in the texts we read and what you pointed out. “Easier said than done” to add to your last comment or question. Our downfall in my humble opinion is something called “complacency”. It is the act of being so used to things or other around us that we fail to feel grateful. Perhaps its our nature to need things spiced up once in a while to drive purpose. Manna provided the Hebrew’s all of their nutritional needs but yet the Hebrew’s “needed” a variety of protein in their diet. They asked for meat. Is this such a bad thing? Do we not need to spice up our relationships as well? Perhaps it wasn’t what the Hebrew’s asked for but how they asked for it. Perhaps that’s our undoing in spicing things up – we do it for the wrong reasons and not in a godly manner.
I absolutely agree, Joe! Thanks for adding to the conversation.
I like what you said here, Joe. The people must’ve gotten sick of eating the same thing day after day (which is understandable) even though it was perfectly nutritious. They were craving all the rich foods and flavors of Egypt again. Instead of asking God to show them His goodness again (by praying with a thankful heart) and asking for other foods from His bounty, they complained about the banquet God was currently providing. How ungrateful we are. When we don’t appreciate His goodness to us and instead demand more, should we really expect to get what we want? We are then like spoiled children. What they asked for wasn’t bad, It was how they asked for it, like you said. Not asking with a thankful heart and trusting that God would be good to them again.
And even when they got the “meat” they were greedy and taking more than they needed. It still sounds like they didn’t trust God for their “daily bread”
I found it interesting that it was the “foreign elements” that grumbled and were so greedy for meat. My footnotes mentioned that these were the non-Israelites that were with them…..and they even got the Israelites complaining…and lamenting for meat. So…God gave them meat….and they ate….and were struck with a great plague and the “greedy” people were buried. It made me think of how easy it can be to get drawn into complaining, by people who are worldly or not of our faith, about the blessings and gifts that God has given us.
Look at the people in our world that just go around trying to “stir the pot” getting others to join them. A lot of times it is very obvious what is going on…and easy to avoid getting involved. But sometimes it can be more subtle and not as obvious. People around us who are never satisfied or appreciative. This is teaching me that we really have to be on guard ALL THE TIME…and when we are tempted to grumble, to bite our tongue and ask God’s forgiveness. If we are faithful, God will always guide, provide and take care of us. We need only to be obedient to Him and place our trust in Him.
I first noticed that one thing that when the Cloud (God) stopped the Israelites stopped for however long it stopped and and when the Cloud (God) moved the Israelites. I thought of how many times God has called me to move then said stop. Sometimes the Stop has been very pleasant and I have been reluctant to move, other times I have been impatient to move on,
I also saw the decent of the Holy Spirit on the seventy Elders as prefiguring Pentecost
I like your connection to Pentecost.
How do we respond to our need to either keep moving even though God wants us to slow down or stay put when we really want to keep going? Perhaps being more in tune with God through prayer. Perhaps asking for sight to see when God wants us to move and when He wants us to rest. There’s always a conflict within me to go because I know what to do all by myself and being fully dependent on God. The good thing I’ve been doing of late is asking God whether I should act or stay put on an issue. The other day, I was about to send a text to my step son about cutting his mother (my wife) some slack and asked God if I should send the text. I felt that I shouldn’t send it and waited (that’s God’s nudge to hold back sending). And thank God I listened because the boy had resolved the issue with his mother without a need for me to jump in. The Lord always knows best.
The question – how do we perfect this communication link between the All Powerful All Loving God and little ole me?
If you find the answer please share 🙂
I was hoping to get the answer from you guys. 😉
I believe the answer is to pray the Our Father with particular attention to the phrase “Thy will be done” say that phrase over and over and really mean it . And be sure to thank God for answering your prayers particularly when the answer is No
Yes, but we still need to know that the answer is really coming from God. Most times I don’t know if it is God answering me or not.
I have had it said to me “If you want to hear God laugh tell him your plans” Sometimes our prayers are too specific, Just pray the “Our Father pay attentions to every word of the prayer and leave the details up to God. And look for small miracles.Remember God always answers one of three ways: Yes,No, and Wait. God often answers our prayers in stages.
What you said brought to mind the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola. His “Spiritual Exercises” talk about consolation and desolation. Desolation never comes from God but consolation does come from God. When starting something whether secular or spiritual, St. Ignatius tells us to have fortitude and remain firm in resolution when desolation comes, to pray, and find out if what we are doing brings peace and joy and this stays with us. When desolation sets in, however, he says to stay with it and wait again till the Lord gives us consolation. And if something is not for us, eventually we will know over time that it is bringing us more anxiety than fruit. A good way to know about something too is if it brings about virtue and peace. St. Ignatius of Loyola says that desolation is never from God but it is from the enemy of God. And at the end of the day, St. Ignatius tells us to examine our daily actions. He calls this the “Examen.”
What you describe can also be an aid in our discernment (with or without the extremes of consolation and desolation). I have a pretty major decision to make, and the answer is not coming easily. Thanks, Mike. I printed out and highlighted the different feelings you describe that help us to discern whether our thoughts are from God and for God…
I have a book called “Praying with Saint Paul, Daily Reflections on the Letters of the Apostle Paul”. One reflection speaks of God’s love for us; even while we are sinners and offended Him, He does not reject us. It ends with this prayer from St. Ignatius, from his “Contemplation” (the Suscipe): “Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.” Amen!
Coincidentally, I just stumbled on an excerpt on discernment and the Suscipe from “The Words We Pray” by Amy Welborn. http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/prayers-by-st-ignatius-and-others/suscipe-the-radical-prayer/
The timing of these posts, as well as coming across the Suscipe and this article is incredibly so like God… providing messages for me everywhere I turn. I may not have my answer yet, but I’ve been given more to reflect on and hopefully, obediently follow God’s will for my life…
Thank you Marianne for the link of “Suspice” I have a full notebook already and I will add this one too to put it on my must read list. Here is something I found from EWTN–http://www.ewtn.com/series/shows/living-the-discerning-life/download/Ignatiusrulesstories.pdf
And also this–(14 Rules of St. Ignatius of Loyola)
I watched some of the programming on EWTN of this priest who presented the program. It is very good. Fr. Timothy Gallagher presents this series and he has two more.
Here is the complete Google link which is invaluable–https://www.google.com/search?q=EWTN+study+on+st.+ignatius+and+discernment&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7NDKB_enUS581&gws_rd=ssl
There’s a lot of reading to do and I look forward to it!
There is a link of google I sent to you that may not have come through for you. Just type in the words or google them–“EWTN study on St. Ignatius and Discernment.”
Yes I noticed 🙂
The same thing happened with the first link… you need to take out the “EWTN”.
I just right clicked, selected Properties and copied and pasted what I needed.
Here are the links for others to follow:
Thank you. I yet do not know how to do it.
Another thing, Marianne, that I was thinking about and wanted to say is that one can be benefited so much by a good” spiritual director” whom one can confide in. With confession too, that is why God placed for us our confessor, an aide to help us too for one can not do it alone. One can have a spiritual director independent of a spiritual confessor. Some of the saints were helped much by their spiritual directors in matters and also in things of discernment. Also, as we know, prayer is so important, daily and throughout the day along with much more.
We will have to keep asking the Holy Spirit to give a listening ear that hears God loud and clear. Thank God that He is patient with his little ones.
Praying in His presence in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as much as possible helps.
Perfect communication with the Lord will occur when we are in heaven, if we are so chosen to be blessed and go there when we die. In the meantime, I believe we should strive to IMPROVE our communication with the Lord through prayer – as often as possible, in order that we may hear His words, learn His words through Scripture – which we are in the process of doing, and by trusting in Jesus and following His teachings. These are just my humble thoughts, as I as sure you are already aware of the answer you are seeking.
And the Ark of the Covenant protected them along their journey.
This reading reminds me of when my dad was diagnosed with a fatal disease. He was given two months to live. Did I stop and thank God for putting this wonderful man in my life? No. I was like the Israelites. I asked for more. For more time with Dad, for more conversations with him, for a reason why this was happening… Not until I talked with my dad about his death and about him putting his faith and trust in God and watching him do this, did I realize that I need to put my faith and trust in God as well. Dad only lived 4 more days but they were four days of love! We have to have faith and trust in God always! Know that He will give us the strength to face anything! That is all He wanted from the Israelites….
Do you realize that God answered your prayer by allowing you to have the most important conversation with your father just before he died.
I think most of us in your circumstance would react the same way, I believe that is human nature. We want more. When we suffer a loss we usually go through several stages while processing the information: 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression and then 5) acceptance, and with that acceptance (for believers) comes putting our faith in God. Thank God you had the opportunity to have that special time well spent with your father. It is not how much time we have with one another, but the quality during that time that matters most.
Thank you Kim for sharing your heartfelt story. May your dad be reconciled with God. I heard someone say that we seem to focus on what was taken away or rather what we thought we were entitled to have instead of the time God gave us with our loved ones. If you ever told your father that you loved him there is nothing in this existence you could’ve done more. Like the Eucharist is the summit of our faith, love us the summit of our existence. God bless you and all that have lost someone special.
God provided mannah which was all the Israelites needed but they wanted more. Their memories of the foods they had enjoyed in Egypt was too much for them. I am reminded to be thankful for what I have each day, don’t look back to what you had or forward to what might be, just to be in today thankful for God’s gracious provisions. Egypt truly was in their memories, their bellies and most especially in their hearts. When they continued their dissatisfaction, God provided the quail, so much quail that they must have gotten tired of it! What a message that was to the Israelites, that God could provide so much they would tire of even that. Moses was wise when he said, (Ch 11:29 “Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!”)The Holy Spirit is sent to guide and direct us as we answer God’s call on our lives. The results of the greed was that those who were greedy, died. After reading some of the other posts, I see I got taken with the idea of food,( I do love good food!) Thanks all for pointing out the most important lessons of Moses, “the meekest man on the face of the earth” being God’s servant (He asked for help and was given help in the Elders) and Miriam, what happens when we try to take our “call to serve God” and try to make it something more than what God intends. God has given us those to lead and if we want to continue to serve the Lord, we must learn to follow.
The people were unhappy with HOW God provided for them as they complained about the food, they didn’t like what they were being fed – manna. It was Moses’s prayers that had the fire of God’s wrath go out, not the people repenting. The people complained again, and Moses states he rather be killed at once to be relieved of these duties.
Moses became overly stressed with the constant complaints. It must have been difficult for Moses to concentrate on what he had to do with all the bickering going on. God relieves Moses’s burden by providing him with 70 elders that now share the Holy Spirit with Moses. The Lord then proclaimed he would provide meat for over 600,000 people and Moses displayed his doubt on HOW that would be possible. There wasn’t one person who had 100% complete faith in the Lord, including Moses. Maybe Moses was emotionally and physically stressed out at this point. God’s response, rather than kill Moses (who requested he’d rather be killed), God kills the greedy Israelites with a plague. The people were displaying signs of want, desire, and greed, and I didn’t see any signs of worship, prayer, or repentance. Puts one in check, of where our priorities ought to lie.
It seems as if many have picked up on the main point that also struck me i.e. receiving manna and wanting meat. And thank you for the points I missed. The second item that caught my eye was that Moses was overburdened, not only with the leadership but with the wondrous interaction with God. Although Moses asked to be killed, God took some of the spirit that filled Moses and shared it with the people. This eased Moses’ burden and shared they joy of the Lord with others, Moses seemed happy, but people still complained. I thought about manna in my life and think it is the Eucharist, mass, praying, reading the Bible, reading books about the faith or saints and spending peaceful moments just talking to God. I know other people seem to receive more manna, but it seems to me that their need is greater because they are busy sharing the manna through giving of themselves to others (like those who run this study).
I cannot wait to finish the bible readings so that I can read all of your comments—you all do a fantastic job of applying the readings to our every day lives and problems and how to overcome or deal with them…. thank you all very, very much Ray
I want to remind myself that God freed the Israelites (and us) from slavery to serve and worship Him. In that phrase I believe if they were faithful to doing that (just as if I am), and He gave them the Commandments and laws to help them learn, everything that was necessary would be provided them, food, shelter, safety from harm, purposeful work, companionship, family, health, and most importantly a relationship with God.
The reading of these chapters was a renewal of the awareness of a profound gift that God gives each of us, repeatedly in our lives. That is the gift of the cloud! It is a wonderful gift that is hardly ever opened. We rarely think to thank God for not knowing, for not understanding, for not being in control, for having to trust. And most importantly we do not rest in him when we do not feel his presence. It is a hard lesson for us to learn to wait on the Lord! To believe that he is with us even when we cannot see him, are not aware of his presence. It is hard to see the cloud as in fact an action of the great love of God for us – the cloud rather as a loving embrace, than as a distant God! The cloud is an invitation to sit in silence with God knowing in the unknowing that he is with us always.
When I, we, as God’s people, can enter into the cloud, waiting on the Lord then we can accept the humdrum of life, and its tragedies. The boring manna is no longer boring, Both the having, and the not having are gifts! The Lord of love is in the darkness and in the light!
I too want to thank everyone for the wonderful insites, which all of you share, it brings together a faith community on a journey, bringing each of us closer to God, through His beautiful book. On reading the many posts, I could not stop thinking of our priests and how so often parishners only want more from them and like Moses they want what God wants for us, but they need us to pray for them not complain about what we think they should be doing…they will be done, not my will!!!Blessings to all of you for sharing, especially to those of us, who don’t feel as comfortable with sharing our heart in a post:-)
That Aaron is one fortunate dude! First the golden calf and now this – and he doesn’t seem to get punished either time. 😉
Angelique, I agree with you! With the Golden Calf incident, Moses at least got angry and screamed at Aaron but when it comes to the jealousy that Miriam and he had for Moses, it was only Miriam that was punished and very seriously I might add. It does not seem fair.
This group of people were so arrogant towards God, even Moses! They all seem to take turns with complaining. Perhaps, the daily routine was becoming very mundane and their boredom with this daily grind was getting to them. God was displeased with the people and struck them with a plague.
While reading this passage, I did a bit of soul searching and realized that I, too, complain and argue with God! In the past I have been so ‘bored’ with my life. My routine stays the same and has been that way for many years.
Then, situations changed, not for the better unfortunately, but change they did. They say ‘hind sight is better than foresight’. I so wish for my “boring” life to reappear! I should have not been arrogant with the Lord nor should I have wished for ‘greener pastures’ for me to find ‘earthly contentment. I should have left well enough alone and had been content with what I had. God has a way of teaching a lesson to us (me).
I can relate, Pnky….What is they say about “idle hands,” and “too much time on one’s hands”?
I also went through a time of boredom and frustration a while back. I spent a lot of extra time in prayer, because it was the only
thing I felt I was able to do. I was not in a position to serve God in any other capacity. So I did a lot of soul searching, surrendered it all to God, and sought to truly “listen” to Him. Now I’m busier than I ever imagined, and wish I had more time because there’s more I’d like to do for Him!
Perhaps it’s not too late to be content with what you have. Even if your present life has some difficulty and is not what you expected, you can still thank God for it. I agree about the hindsight. Looking back now, you can probably see God’s blessings during the “boring” period. And so it will be when you look back on this time a couple years from now.
I pray that God will hear your prayers and heal the situation you’re in. You can still do His will, no matter the circumstances.
I, too, spent years complaining – still find myself complaining about little things, without thinking…
one night, it changed – it changed every thing about me… my life, my work, my relationships – every thing…
so, today I am striving to thank God for every thing in and around me and my life… I find myself struggling some days – even to stay awake… but after my period of sulks and fits are over, I find Jesus still there, still with blessings I had over looked, and still over-looking… thank You, Jesus…
I was one of the biggest complainers for much of my life. I didn’t want to take responsibility for my unhappiness, so complained and blamed some of those closest to me … even, and sometimes especially, God. My complaining almost drove off my husband which put me in a state of true fear. Guess what? Only then did I turn to God and stopped my complaining.
I began to pray that God would change my heart and to show me the areas in my life where I needed to change. I am one of the blessed ones in that one day God showed me the times in my life I had forgotten, that showed me I wasn’t without blame. It was like a movie trailer running through my mind. One after another these forgotten times in my life appeared that left me immensely ashamed and sorry for past behaviors. I vowed, with the Lord’s grace and help, to be different from then on. It was then I began to be thankful to God for the painful times in my life. It was in hitting my rock bottom that I was forced to look up … at God. For that I have to be thankful. Because of my stubbornness and unwillingness to take responsibility for certain areas in my life, God had to let me sink to the bottom before I was ready to rise. I now thank Him routinely for the trials in my life, as I know they bring me closer to Him, and there’s usually a wonderful lesson for me to learn.
Thank you, Lord, for Your grace and love. Thank You for my trials that teach me and bring me closer to You. All Honor, Glory and Praise to You, Lord! Amen.
I, too, thought of the “greener pastures” clique when I read these passages – God has stated the people must wander for 40 years so all those who remember Egypt are purged and he is able to mold the next generation to be God-fearing and faithful. He was able to lead them out of Egypt but now he has to purge Egypt from them. All too often we get what we want and then become dissatisfied as the “want” isn’t what we need. It seems to be human nature to remember only what is good and long for the good old days when they were truly just the old days.
God provided all that was needed to the People of Israel but they showed their unwillingness and eventual disdain for what they needed. Human nature often gets entrapped with greed, need for power, pride, and self-importance (also pride). We see only what we want to see and from our narrow perspective; the full picture is not available to us so we make poor decisions on partial information.
It would seem to me we are seeing the Evil One working to counter all that God is providing – he, the Evil One, is tugging on the people to bring them to his side. The Evil One is providing many opportunities for the people to choose an easier way, a way that is more comfortable, more self-important, et cetera.
In my mature years I still find it difficult to go to confession, and yet afterwards I feel so elated and free. I can only imagine, mainly because I didn’t clearly understand all of the Readings this time, but because God is all-knowing the lessons for the Israelites had to be lessons to learn and know the difference of good and evil. I don’t know if touching a dead body was a symbolic message or not, but is it similar to the sin of lust, rape and molestation as we know today? Is complaining for meat symbolic of “greed”, “gluttony”, and “selfishness” ? How difficult it must have been for God to teach the people to have faith and trust and that sinning and wanting had to be stopped. How difficult it is for God yet today, for every time I open a newspaper or listen to some of the horrible news of evil, I can only pray that talking to a priest, going to confession, praying the rosary, or reading scriptures daily will help God to give all of us the mercy for our sins.
The Israelites complained because they wanted meat-they were always wanting things the way they were in Egypt and not remembering the work the Lord had done for them. Moses was burdened and God heard Moses plea and poured His Spirit on other leaders to lessen Moses load. God never asks more than what we can do. How beautiful that he elected others and poured His Spirit on them. Miriam’s jealousy was punished but she was forgiven. God is full of mercy. Important to remember that God does the picking. We don’t appoint ourselves. We need to respect those given authority and pray for our leaders–our priests and bishops.
I think we are all like the Israelites, wanting to hold on to what we know. If you have never moved cross country or out of the country(Military spouse) where everything you know except family is gone, it is hard to understand how much you miss what you had. Trusting God is hard in the day to day of loneliness and trying to get kids settled in school but I can’t imagine what it would have been like without God. He will show us the way in spite of our complaints and is so forgiving…aren’t we all blessed!
I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments – it helps me to understand what I am reading and see other points of view. The Israelites are complainers. God is always with them, showing them where to camp and when to move to another location. Today we don’t have that certainty. I pray daily that i am on the path that God wants for me and that I am living as he would want. We may not always feel that God is with us (even though he is). I think if the Israelites saw the world as it is today, they would feel lucky and blessed with what they had.
I have enjoyed reading the comments.
After reading the comments, I can see how I have dug a hole for me to sit in and sulk! Rather than thanking God for all I have in my life, whether things be good, bad, or indifferent, I seem to strive for more to make me “happy” here on earth. Somewhere along the way, I have replaced the importance of eternity with God with the importance of being “special” here on earth!
May God bless and keep all of you near and dear to Him for teaching me each and everyday the importance of thanking God, worshiping God, and praying to God for everything!
We’re all on this journey together, pnkyB4brain. We all dig our holes, and some, like myself, dig them more than would seem necessary. You are not alone … I’m often right there with you! 🙂
I think we’re all “guilty” of seeking happiness here on earth. One thing I’ve noticed on my spiritual journey is that my definition of happiness has changed. A few years ago, I asked myself, “can I possibly say I surrender my will to God and really mean it?” It seemed so hard. Just like forgiveness. That was hard too. And looking back, I now think that was a major stumbling block for me. Anyway, the things that used to matter to me have no value or importance to me anymore. I learned to be happy with less, and then I was blessed with more. I forgave, and now I’m forgiven.
You are such a beautiful person, Sue. I can see it in your honesty and comments. In my opinion, you are actually coming along a lot further than you think. You are able to openly and honestly look at yourself and recognize areas that need change. This in itself is wisdom. This in itself is a blessing. Enjoy the journey.
The people continue to complain and be discontent. God hears the complaints and responds in a twofold way: He gave them what they asked, “ 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it could be chewed, the Lord’s wrath flared up against the people, and the Lord struck them with a very great plague.”
Israel’s journey into the wilderness halted at Sinai so the Israelites could receive God’s instructions for worship, holiness, and ritual purity (Exod 19–Num 9:14).
God was dealing with Israel as if the people were addicted to idolatry. As I said earlier, it was easier to take Israel out of Egypt than to take Egypt out of Israel. The sacrificial system is imposed as a kind of corporate penance upon the whole nation. The three animals that God had Israel sacrifice – cattle, sheep and goats – were all venerated as divine by the Egyptians.
Remember, God did not originally desire animal sacrifice. He has no need that millions upon millions of cows and goats be slaughtered. Instead, God wanted praise, a humble and contrite spirit and walking in His ways. The animal sacrifice requirements would be a daily reminder of their apostasy with the golden calf. Each day they would be forced to relive their sin and do PENANCE for it, ritually slaughtering the “gods” they once worshipped. In this way, God hoped to free Israel’s heart from slavery to idolatry.
So Penance or Reconciliation is here and pointing to the future church. Keeping the Eucharist in mind as well as the sacrament of reconciliation, we hear the words “Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, when you shall have meat to eat…” As the Israelites received manna from heaven (and in ch. 17 water from the rock- sorry I read ahead :-), the Christian is given the heavenly bread and spiritual drink of the Eucharist. And we must be a good disposition to receive the benefits of the Holy Eucharist, and we get there by living a good life and doing regular penance. Today, as always, God continues to give us a “second” chance.
Anthony you say that God did not desire animal sacrifice–I don’t understand where you come up with this animal sacrifice was present in genesis, Leviticus and all thru the old test. please explain what you mean .thank you Ray
I should probably always say “I suggest” before an opinion answer although I believe I may not be the only one with that opinion. I know the sacrifices were always there, but I suggest that God never wanted them because he always wanted his children to obey and praise him. To ancient Israel, the lamb was identified with sacrifice, and sacrifice is one of the most primal forms of worship. Sacrifice could also be an act of renunciation and sorrow for sins. The person offering sacrifice recognized that his sins deserved death; he offered the animal’s life in place of his own. It was noted that the last animal sacrifice before the Romans burned down the Temple numbered a quarter of a million, and yet that wasn’t enough to satisfy God to break us free from the separation we had with Him. It took ONE sacrifice, and that was the ultimate sacrifice by our Lord, Jesus Christ, And that was Jesus, Who alone could “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb 9:26). In looking at the Passover Sacrifice, I believe God wanted his people to get together in a communal meal to offer him praise, and it wasn’t actually the “death of the animals” that he wanted, and it is the same today when we receive Holy Commumion. In fact it was Melchizedek’s sacrifice that was extraordinary in that it involved no animals. He offered bread and wine, as Jesus would at the Last Supper, when He instituted the Eucharist. So I hope this answers in some way what I suggested earlier.
Anthony–thank you for replying –I understand what you are saying it is amazing how God moved us along from animal sacrifice to his ultimate sacrifice and providing us with the Eucharist I wish all God’s people could experience receiving the body, blood, soul and divinity as we are privileged to do
Isn’t the Bible the best of literature! It is a literary masterpiece with the types of the Old Testament and the antitypes of the New Testament. Too bad it is not allowed in the schools.
Makes me think too of the lamb caught in the bush after Abraham was told not to slaughter his only son, Isaac. And this points to Jesus in the New Testament. God knew Abraham would obey him and Abraham was ready to sacrifice his only beloved son. But in all reality, God wanted Abraham to know.
And Mike, Don’t forget that Isaac, Abrahams Only Son (From his marriage of course) carried the wood for the sacrifice on his back to the top of Mt Moriah, as Jesus also did (since Calvary is part of the Moriah Mountain range). And what words did Abraham use when answering his sons question of where the sacrifice is? “God will provide himself a sacrifice”. Pretty astounding!
Yes, Isaac (and as you say the only son his marriage to Sarah and not the son Ishmael of Haagar, the servant) carried the wood as Jesus carried the wood of the cross. But I did not realize that Calvary is part of the Moriah Mountain range. That is amazing, Anthony. And also an eye opener that God would provide the sacrifice which was a lamb caught in the bush. Yes, a lamb in the O.T. sacrifice provided to Abraham and Jesus is the Lamb of God in the N.T. provided for us all by the Divine Person of God the Father, His only begotten Son, the Word of God, Jesus. The love of the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son, Love for all of mankind, God on the cross as the sacrifice, the Lamb of God.
Isn’t it GREAT! Its so amazing who can really deny Jesus? The lamb, as you stated, caught by its head in the thorns (thicket)… Just incredible. And this was right on the heels of the words “God will provide himself a sacrifice”-What a play on words. I enjoyed this conversation with You Mike-Thanks
It is wonderful! The Bible is the greatest literary masterpiece of all time. The Old Testament points to the New Testament just as the Blessed Mother points to Jesus and not herself. I enjoy talking to you too, Anthony. If only more would be open to study the Bible. St. Jerome says that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of the Bible. The O.T. is the N.T. hidden whereas the N.T. is the O.T. revealed. What an ingenious way of God communicating with man! And once the numbering system was put on the verses of the Bible, it made it a lot easier. Jesus did not have that system and he knew Scripture and referred to many things that Scripture scholars have to look at and call our attention to. Fr. Bill Burton, OFM is a website and is a speaker on many of these things.
You can find his study of the Intro. to the Bible at Franciscan Media, the St. John the Baptist province of Franciscans, located in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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“Each day they would be forced to relive their sin and do PENANCE for it, ritually slaughtering the “gods” they once worshipped. In this way, God hoped to free Israel’s heart from slavery to idolatry.”
Good observation! Thank you! And we know that the New Testament Holy Eucharist is Jesus, the true Lamb, Sacrifice, and the blood of the “Lamb”. The Bible symbolism (types and prefigurement of the O.T.) is great for the Passover with blood over the doorpost, the “passing over of the angel of death. And the lamb that the Israelites prepared had to be eaten as too in the New Testament we eat the Lamb of God, His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
And Jesus says three different times during his ministry that one must eat his body and drink his blood. And everyone knows that during the Passover if you did everything except eat the lamb, your firstborn would be dead in the morning. You HAD to eat the Lamb to finish the covenant meal. And another AH HA moment for me was learning that the wine Jesus drank on the cross was passed up to him on a Hyssop branch…the same branch specified at the passover to sprinkle the blood of the lamb over the doorposts! No co-incidence there Im sure :-)!
The Lord mad it very clear to the prophets that he would reveal himself and speak to them through dreams. And, for Moses he shared with them that for this servant The Lord when in his house bears his trust to him and will visit with him face to face, not in riddles but in plain verbiage. He makes is very clear and destiny TS to the prophets that Moses is held to a higher level with The Lord than the prophets. Meh closes by sharing his disappointments with them in not fearing Moses.
These particular scriptures allows me to connect to a similar connections that God our Father and Jesus have. As well as how I go through Jesus in speaking with him for prayer in which he speaks to God for me. Amen!
I’m far behind the lectures but still I try to read as much as I can ,I really appreciate.all your comments it really help me to understand what I’m reading every day. Like a few of the laadys here I had had my ups and down on this road to follow God is not easy and I strugle so.much sometimes to much that it make me think if I’m following Him as I should or it is only my wishfull thinking. Sometime I feel at loss and don’t want to pray or read the Scriptures most times I ask for His mercy to help me to follow Him as I want to I know He will guide me to Him but is hard for me to stay focus and follow His lead
One thing we clearly see over and over is that God is merciful and loves us, in spite of our imperfections. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just stay close to God with daily prayer and He will guide you.