Happy Magic Bread Day! This is the chapter with the manna, and so many things about it seem foreign to me in so many different ways. I have no clue what it’s like to travel in the desert or to travel long distances on foot. I don’t know a whole lot about what’s normal for storing food without refrigeration or sealed packaging. And I don’t know that I’ve ever heard it said that someone “grumbled against” someone else outside of the Bible. But there’s one thing here that I’ve got half a clue on, and that’s people being people.
Moses probably didn’t expect Pharaoh to release the Israelites without some resistance. But I don’t think he expected Pharaoh to make things worse.
Has God ever granted one of your requests in mid-prayer? One Saturday afternoon during my teenage years, after spending entirely too much time searching for a chapstick and getting increasingly frustrated, I began to ask God to help me find the chapstick, only to look down and see it lying on the sofa. I could tell you ten bojillion stories in which God answered my “help me find X” prayers, but all of them except the chapstick one involved some length of time between the request and the finding, ranging from a few minutes to half a year. But we are here to discuss not the Complete History of Jackson’s Answered Prayers, but rather today’s chapter of Genesis. And like my chapstick situation, today’s chapter of Genesis features a “help me find X” prayer that was answered before it was even completed.
I might as well confess: I don’t pray in groups much anymore. That’s not to say that I don’t pray out loud, but when I do pray out loud, usually the only one who hears me is God. Or I’ll be offering a cursory ritualistic prayer before eating a meal with family or church family. I bring this up because when I do pray as part of a larger praying group, sometimes I become acutely conscious of the other people hearing my prayer as well as God. Sometimes we pray with witnesses to the act, or an audience, or however else you might term the third parties listening to what you’re saying to God. And as a result, we may say certain things for the benefit of the people listening.
As I’ve noted before, Mark happens fast. He keeps introducing things that I have to backtrack to discuss, because I didn’t have time and space to talk about them when they first showed up. For instance: throughout the last two chapters, he’s been hinting at his coming death, and yesterday, he identified Jerusalem as his final destination. His opponents have set a trap, and he intends to walk right into it, throwing the fight with the Pharisees in order to win a larger war. Well, today we’re in Jerusalem. This is the beginning of the end.
In today’s chapter, Peter lands himself in jail again. And while the first two times he was simply imprisoned, this time around it looks likelier than ever that he’ll end up executed, because this time he’s been imprisoned by a Herod.
Here we go again. I’d hoped to get Luke 11 covered for Sunday and call it the last of last week’s five posts, but that scenario clearly didn’t happen. So we’re gonna start fresh this week, kick it off with Luke 11’s prayers, parables, exorcisms, and criticisms, and shoot for a post every weekday as has been our custom. We’re invoking Blog Forgiveness and moving forward.