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“So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it.” (Exodus 16:24)

Not yet, but soon… maggots, that is.  The flies were busily laying their eggs in the carcass of the bird I found in the church parking lot.  In not too long a time the eggs will hatch into maggots, the maggots will eat and help decompose the bird carcass, then the maggots will become flies and so on and so on and so on… (or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work).

As the Israelites followed Moses out of Egypt and began their trek through the desert their anxiety was sky high.  How would they eat, how would they live, where would they find water, where would they go?  The questions poured endlessly from their lips as they struggled with their vulnerability and anxiety.  That’s also why when the manna God sent to sustain them began to appear in the mornings, they disobeyed the first day, collected more than the amount needed for the day as they were directed, and wound up with maggot-infested leftover manna.  Their anxiety about the future won out over listening to and following God’s guidance.  After that, it must have been especially tough for the Israelites when they got to the sixth day and Moses told them to collect enough manna for two days (so they wouldn’t work on the sabbath).  Their reasoning told them to pay attention to the lesson they’d already learned — that leftover manna spoils and grows maggots.  Yet, “they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it.”  Let’s see, they got maggots when they anticipated none, and none when they anticipated maggots.  Hmm, finally, they learned that following God’s message through Moses meant sometimes acting counter to what the “reasonable” action might direct.

God’s message for life as spoken and demonstrated by Jesus then continually whispered by the Holy Spirit (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and might, and your neighbor as yourself) sometimes trumps lessons learned from reason and may leave us with  unanticipated outcomes.  God’s Spirit may lead us in ways of seemingly irrational loving.  I recently read that “individual rights” above all else seems to be becoming more the norm in our country today.  Given that,  God’s whispering to our souls to, “love our neighbors as ourselves,” by giving of ourselves to others might seem very unreasonable and irrational.  Maggots or no maggots, hmm, let me see…

O God, I pray that your Spirit will continue to whisper your message of life in my soul, and that I will have the courage to listen and follow, even when the “reasoning of the day” would have me go another direction.    How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

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~ by revgenelson on June 2, 2010.

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