Who Would Do That?

Who Would Do That?

On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?” Exodus 16:27-28

Occasionally, while traveling, I’ve seen people at the airport pushing their way through security, running for the gate, trying to make their flight. It’s always struck me as odd and frankly, I’ve been a little judgmental. Who would do that? What poor planning. Why didn’t you get here earlier? Flights aren’t spontaneous events. If you’ve bought the ticket, you’ve been informed of the schedule. A responsible adult plans accordingly and gets to the airport on time. Like I said, I’ve been a little judgmental . . . until that was me.

A couple years ago, my family and I simply thought we had more time. Baggage check took longer than expected and by the time we got through security, we were running for the gate, barely making it. We deserved, and got, a few eye rolls. It was a little embarrassing to think, Oh no. I’m one of those people. It was a good lesson for me though. Whenever I find myself thinking – Who would do such a dumb thing? – I’ve got to remember all the dumb things I’ve done in my life. The world is full of stupid people, and I’m one of them.

Today’s passage is one of those – Who would do that? – moments. In the story, God’s fed his people with miraculous bread from heaven every morning as they traveled through the wilderness. Every day the Israelites were to gather only enough bread for that one day. On the sixth day however, they were to gather twice as much so that they could observe the Sabbath day, not gathering food that day. On the Sabbath, God provided no bread from heaven. The rules were clearly spelled out by God, to teach his people faith and obedience. Still, some people didn’t gather enough on the sixth day, and then went out on the Sabbath, looking for food. I imagine Moses shaking his head. How dumb. Who would do such a thing?

In reading the story of the Israelites and how they repeatedly disobeyed God, it’s easy to see their absurdity. How could you be so dumb? We’re often acutely sensitive to the stupidity of others. Who would do such a thing? The Israelite’s story though, is our story. We’ve all got that thing that we’ve done over and over, despite the painful consequences. That’s the definition of an addictive behavior – doing something repeatedly, despite the misery. Whether it’s drugs, shopping, pornography, or food, we’ve all got our thing. So, when we see others struggling and failing, and we’re tempted to be judgmental, it would be good to remember our own struggles and failures. The world is full of stupid people, and sometimes, I’m one of them.

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