As a Lenten practice during this season, clergy and leaders in the church from youth to elders will be sharing their devotions.
Scripture: Numbers 33-34
Key verses: (33:1-2) These are the stages by which the Israelites went out of the land of Egypt in military formation under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. 2 Moses wrote down their starting points, stage by stage, by command of the Lord; and these are their stages according to their starting places.
Reflection: Here are the stages in the journey of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey.
After the tenth plague of Egypt, Moses and Aaron lead the Israelites out of slavery and toward the Promised Land. Numbers 33 names each campsite, 40 in all, between Rameses and the plains of Moab. The journey took 40 years. Can you imagine pulling up stakes, packing and unpacking 40 times in 40 years? The Israelites grumbled.
It was all God’s plan … to keep the promise made to Abraham. This traveling horde of grumbling Israelites was the plan’s centerpiece. Their journey was not a quick and easy trip from point A to point B. Their journey was a start and stop, broke down, “We want steak!” kind of trip that tested them in ways unimagined.
Is Lent not such a journey? We begin with the reminder that we are but dust, we give something up or add something in and fail some at both. We reflect and self-examine and have some “A-ha” moments and some clueless ones. We despair at the cross and, finally, mercifully arrive at the resurrection.
Perhaps this pandemic has been the same sort of journey. A journey with roundabouts of possibility and potholes full of failings. We have traveled through self-discoveries, loss and deep grief, blazing beauty and love and hope and grace. The journey has uncovered all of the best and the worst of humanity. And God has remained with us, just as God remained with the Israelites.
Prayer: Dear God, As we journey through Lent, keep us from breaking down or grumbling and bring us, at last, to the bright hope of the resurrection. We know you are with us. Amen.
Author: Teri Boone, Elder class of 2023
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].