Monday, February 4, 2013

Waiting until . . .

I’ve been reading Exodus (the book in the Bible, notFranz_Roubaud_Warten_auf_den_Zug_1882 the novel).  Here’s what happened. (I’m skipping a lot to make this shorter.) God came down and gave His decree to all the people.  The listened and said, “All that you have commanded, we will do.”

Then God spoke alone with Moses telling him to bring Aaron, and his sons, and the tribal leaders—70 in all.  They came partway up the mountain.  God met them there and they ate together.  Then God invited Moses alone to join him on the mountain top.  Moses told Aaron, his sons, and the tribal leaders to wait until he returned.

How long did they wait?  Let’s back up.  What did they think when Moses was invited, but not them?  Were they put out?  Did they wonder what they had done wrong or what Moses had done right? 

Then, during the wait, did they think about all of their responsibilities back in camp.  Did they wonder how their wives and sons were faring?  Did they worry about their livestock?

As time passed, did they wonder about Moses?  Did some of them believe that he must have died?  Did they return to the camp?  What did they eat on the mountainside?  What did they drink?  How did they take care of their bodily functions? 

Did the people left below bring them food and drink?  Did they bring them news? 

And how long did it take them to stop waiting for Moses to return.  The Bible says 40 days and nights, but that phrase is a cultural term which means a long time.  If I told you something would happen in 40 days, it wouldn’t seem very long, would it?  But, what if you didn’t know when the event you greatly desired would happen?  Wouldn’t the time seem long until the event actually happened?

When my mom was given her cancer diagnosis and told she would die, no one would give us a date (and rightly so.)  At one point a nurse said a couple of weeks, but when that passed with no change, it looked like her suffering would go on forever.

After she died and I computed the time, it was only about 4 months, or maybe 40 days after the nurse made her 2 week prognosis.  In hindsight that seems like very little time.  But, when I was in the middle of it with no end in sight it seemed very long.

Put yourself in the place of the 70 waiting people.  If you were one of them and the time was going on and on and on with no sight of Moses’ return, wouldn’t you leave a representative few and tell the remainder to go back to camp and take care of business? 

A good thinking, reading, and writing exercise would be to consider what went on among the 70 on that hillside.

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