Article by James Chilton
“In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, ‘If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! [Yahweh] Why did you bring the Lord’s [Yahweh’s] community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!’ Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord [Yahweh] appeared to them. The Lord [Yahweh] said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink” (Numbers 20:1-8, NIV).
This week, I am asking the question, How do we learn? Most would say a primary way of learning anything is through experience. Experience can be an excellent teacher, but it wasn’t clicking for Israel. They had forty years of experience in the wilderness, and they kept on repeating the same sin of unbelief over and again.
Israel had the grand display of Almighty God performing miracles, and yet the people had difficulty in connecting the dots. We live in a time when millions have no idea there are dots, much less that they must be connected in order to survive!
The text says Yahweh brought the nation right back to Kadesh, the very place the twelve spies had given their report. God has a way of returning us to places where we made unwise decisions to see if we have spotted the dots. When we read the Scriptures we need to observe whether or not our own lives are revealed in the text. Reading these ancient stories is a reminder that we all struggle with rebellion. We can be so sure, so stubborn, and so sinful and miss a pivotal life lesson.
Experience is not enough. Enlightenment (seeing where the dots intersect) is a good start.
In God we Trust. Love in Christ Ron