On the sixth day of reading from Psalm 107, think about God’s “loving-kindness.”
The reading today from 1st Corinthians is a warning against several “obvious” sins. With overt acts such as bowing to physical idols, self-centered complaining, or unwise sexual behavior, it is relatively easy to trace the consequences of those behaviors back to their source.
The reading from Numbers is more puzzling though. Here we see Moses and Aaron being denied entry to the Promised Land because Moses uses “we” to describe God’s provision of water from a rock. This outcome has struck many readers as too severe a consequence for Moses’ seemingly momentary lapse.
But we can read it as a warning about the destructive effects of pride. The connection between act and consequence is not nearly as clear as we might like, but such is the power of pride. Human beings flourish when our lives are built on trust and hope in God. When we instead live out of a sense of hope and trust in our self, our connection to that firm foundation is eroded. The results are not just unpredictable, but are likely to be chaotic. Even Moses somehow lost sight of his own utter dependence on God. We are being reminded that we must be centered not in our self, but in the God who is beyond us.