Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Discernment in the wilderness ...

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you

The house of Israel called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

This morning we had an interesting Bible study on Exodus 16: the Hebrews in the desert complaining to Moses and Aaron about not having enough food and things having been so much better next to the fleshpots of Egypt. We discussed the rather idealised idea of the supposed proximity to God in the desert wilderness - if you read the book of Exodus you can get the impression that it's almost a haranguing match between God, Moses and the People, that may not be the ideal of closeness with God most of us long for!
Yet in some ways the fleshpots of Egypt serve as a symbol of a far greater wilderness than even wandering in the desert for 40 years. A longing for the ease of past years, an idealisation of what being close to God may really mean.
All that makes discerning how God may be calling us complex and challenging. Are we being called to set out and dare to be liberated from the ease of consumerism? In an age of instant gratification are we willing to trust in a distant hope 40 yeras off?
I was interested to read that the bread of heaven looked like coriander seed and tasted of honey - perhaps giving the people in the desert a daily foretaste of the promise of the land of milk and honey. Sustenance for the wilderness journey.