The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.’
At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.
Again Jesus said to the Pharisees:
‘I am going away;
you will look for me
and you will die in your sin.
Where I am going, you cannot come.’
The Jews said to one another, ‘Will he kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ Jesus went on:
‘You are from below; I am from above.
You are of this world; I am not of this world.
I have told you already:
You will die in your sins.
Yes, if you do not believe that I am He,
you will die in your sins.’
So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus answered:
‘What I have told you from the outset.
About you I have much to say
and much to condemn;
but the one who sent me is truthful,
and what I have learnt from him
I declare to the world.’
They failed to understand that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus said:
‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man,
then you will know that I am He
and that I do nothing of myself:
what the Father has taught me is what I preach;
he who sent me is with me,
and has not left me to myself,
for I always do what pleases him.’
As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.
We are disgusted with this wretched food.
Food is something very close to my heart. For as long as I can remember, my parents have always made sure that there would be some food on the kitchen table whenever we got home from a long day at school and, later on in life, from work. Till today, mum continues to feed us and to make sure there are always leftovers after one of her cooking classes.
So I can understand when the people rose up against Moses and gave him a piece of their mind. After all, he had taken them out of their comfort zone into a land of unknowns. I can imagine how I too would be clamouring for proper food and drink, especially if I had to endure harsh conditions.
It is not in my nature to complain about things, whether at work or at home. For me, everything I have is a blessing from God. It is apt then that this week is when we give (and receive) our performance bonuses at work. As I write this, I am already anticipating the few sour faces that I may have to deal with once I hand out the letters. After a long, hard year, it is always difficult to face staff who think they have been performing well and to ‘reward’ them with something that is going to be below their expectations.
It is easier when people are open-minded to accept that they may not have performed up to expectations. But when people think they are entitled to something more simply because they have been in the organisation for a certain amount of time, I get very disappointed. Because not only are they fooling themselves, they are also letting the entire department down.
So while I steel myself for the ‘chats’ that I know I will have to arrange in the days ahead, I know that with God’s guidance and wisdom, I have done my utmost best in being as fair as possible. And if, like the people, anyone starts to complain about the ‘wretched food’ he or she has received, I will just pray for that person and hope that the Lord guides him/her along their own learning journey, and that He opens their minds to receive the wisdom and counsel that they fully deserve.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Lord we pray for all those who are suffering now, that you deliver them with your manna and give them their just desserts.
Thanksgiving: Thank you heavenly Father, for our gifts of bread and wine each and every day.