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Numbers 21:4-9

2009-03-18 — You know what’s weird. It never says that snakes go away.

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BIBLE PASSAGE — From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live. — Fourth Sunday in Lent, Series B

comments

  1. Lou Ann — 3191 days ago #

    The snakes didn’t go away…. ain’t that the truth!

    Oh well, guess we all can’t live in Ireland at the time of St. Patrick

  2. Linda Bowers — 3191 days ago #

    I bought a wooden snake on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair once.

    Linda

  3. Robert — 3191 days ago #

    Wouldn’t it be better to say that it worked because the Lord gave His Word that it would save them?

  4. Jim — 3190 days ago #

    Robert, I think your inner Lutheran is showing. :-)

  5. Brad Boyer — 3190 days ago #

    I’ll second Robert… “…because they believed IT would” (emphasis added) sounds a bit too much like voodoo, or Pentecostalism (is there much of a functional difference? … oops). I suggest, “…because they believed He would” or even “…He would and could”. Alternatively, “…trusting in God to save them. That’s why it worked.”

  6. Jim — 3190 days ago #

    Okay, but how would I have set up the placebo joke then?

  7. Brad Boyer — 3190 days ago #

    D’oh! I get it now… “because IT would” = placebo joke, but “because HE would” destroys it. (I’m always the last to get the joke…) Another possibility, “…because they believed God’s word,” would have the advantage of being able to be grammatically simplified to “it”, thus preserving the placebo joke, but the disadvantage of being long enough that the joke might still be lost. (Who said brevity is the soul of wit?) I’m a military chaplain, so am constantly negotiating the trade-offs between convenience and security in that environment – analogous to witty brevity and thorough theological correctness, respectively, in this context. So I appreciate the delicacy of your position as a pastor and a cartoonist.

  8. Peter Nelson — 3190 days ago #

    Actually James the placebo effect still works if you recognize that Ted is speaking from a naturalistic worldview Ted is claiming to be a christian but behaving like a practicing atheist

  9. daniel bogogolela — 3186 days ago #

    how i miss those Moses days!

  10. Jim — 3185 days ago #

    don’t we all…

  11. Jim — 3185 days ago #

    Peter,
    Are you saying that Ted is a bad guy?

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