. . . but the people became impatient on the way.
You can’t miss this phrase as you read through the OT text for this Sunday. It just stands out in the passage, more significant–and threatening–than the poisonous serpents. It stands out because it resonates so much with our impatience. It does with me.
God had rescued His people from back-breaking, brick-building slavery in Egypt, had provided them with resources in the desert, and had shown long-suffering with their whining about wanting to go back to Egypt. After all the patience God had provided for them, they had the nerve to show their impatience.
Some ideas for preaching this text:
Ever felt this way as a parent, manager, or leader? You do things for others, sacrificing resources, bending over backwards and going the extra mile, dealing with whining, only to have people get impatient with you. How do you deal with impatient people?
Tie this together with John 3:14-21, explaining the serpent on the pole and the lifting up of the “Son of man.” What does it mean to “look at it live.”?
In what ways do we show impatience with God, especially if we find ourselves wandering in the wilderness longer than we thought? How can we counter our impatience with our circumstance and with God and move on to a more promising place?