Crystal Writes A Blog

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Sin or Zen in the Tzin

Zen Image by Flickr User Matthew Kebbekus, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Zen Image by Flickr User Matthew Kebbekus, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Zen is one of those things that has a real definition and an urban/cultural definition. The real definition is one of eastern religion tied to Buddhism, but the way it is used in current culture is typically devoid of anything “religious.” People say things like, “Find your zen,” and it simply means the equivalent of “just go to your happy place.” It usually means anything along the lines of peace, simplicity, balance, calm, or a general lack of chaos. I kinda like the definition from The Urban Dictionary:

One way to think of zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts. “Sun is warm, grass is green.”

In today’s reading from Numbers 19:18 through Numbers 20:6, we continue from yesterday on what someone should do if they enter into a tent or field with a corpse in it, or if they touch the bone of a dead person or a grave. Because they have touched with is unclean, they cannot just be free to interact with the rest of the community until they have gone through a cleansing ritual. A clean person must sprinkle the water (mixed with the ashes of the red heifer as seen in yesterday’s post) over the unclean person on the 3rd day and again on the 7th day. The person will be clean after seven days. If they refuse to be sprinkled, they will remain unclean and must keep separated from the people, and God says this is a defilement of His holy tabernacle.

As all these things are being taught and being dealt with, the people are continually moving around and/or stopping in various deserts. This time, they have headed to the Tzin Desert and are stopping in Kadesh. While there, Miriam passes away and they bury her. Also while there, the community becomes upset because they have no water. They are smart enough to know that burial follows death, but they don’t seem to be able to figure out that prayer should be the natural response to need. Instead of finding their “zen” by trusting God, they begin to whine and complain against Moses and Aaron–again.

Even a little whining might be okay, but these people do a few things wrong at the complaint window. First, they take what should be taken to God to men. Then, they accuse Moses and Aaron of bringing them to the desert just to let them die. As if Moses and Aaron made the decision where to take them, and as if their wandering has nothing to do with their own behaviors. Above all, they show God disrespect by complaining about their current situation and wishing they were back in the captivity from which He saved them. Instead of finding balance by being grateful for their freedom, all they can think about is figs and pomegranates.

As the reading ends, Moses and Aaron do what the children of Israel should be doing; they fall on their faces before Yahveh Almighty. It is that act of desperation and humility that brings in the presence of God, and it will be the same for you and me. As the Scripture says in James 4:7 (NLT), “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Note that the “humble yourselves” (submit in King James Version) comes before resisting the devil. If we want “zen” instead of sin, we need to humble ourselves before The Lord, If we want peace and balance, we need to know our place in Him and in His will for us. Humility lets us look upward to God and see His wonder. His wonder brings us into a place of praise, and praise brings us into a place of peace.

June 15, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , ,

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