[Numbers] The Shape of What Ails You

And the Lord said to Moses,
“Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole;
and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” – Numbers 21:8 (NRSV)

There’s not much food in the wilderness.
That’s no surprise.
There’s not much water either.
No surprise.

Taking a community on a 40 year journey by foot
brings on grumbling and impatience.
No surprise there either.

There are snakes and scorpions in the wilderness.
Yes.
Here is the surprise.
Up to now, they haven’t bothered the wanderers.
They’ve passed through acres and acres of snake-infested ground
and not one deadly bite.

The Jewish Rabbis say
Up to now, God “held back” the poisonous snakes
making a smoother path through the wilderness.
But when they forgot about graciousness and trust,
and sank into their scarcity
God “let go” what had always been there,
not to be cruel or punishing or dealing in death
but because sometimes it takes being present to your life
to really to know life.

The snake-bite deaths started to add up.

“Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole;
and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.”

Perhaps it is the looking up,
a trusting raising of their heart
even in the midst of pain
that gives them healing.

Perhaps in the gazing
there is remembering
and re-membering makes them whole.

Perhaps welcoming the shape of what ails them,
makes space for remedy
and Love gathers within.
And there is life.

“Blogging one verse from every book of the bible in 2018.”
Photo credit:
Agnolo Bronzino – The Adoration of the Bronze Snake

 

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1 Comment

  1. “Takes being present to your life to really know life” …. Wisdom for sure

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