It is easy to think that you have it all together. To delude yourself into thinking that the problems of the past have been dealt with. It is easy to think this when things are calm. When there are no stressors before you, and no challenges to face. But all it takes is a series of moments. The sudden onset of multiple challenges in a short time frame and suddenly you discover that the old ways are not gone. They were just hidden deep down. And now it is obvious and there for everyone to see. And the consequences can be far reaching.
Once more the book of Numbers dwells on the obscure and borderline mystical. There are few other places in all of scripture that baffle like the Red Heifer sacrifice. It is this sacrifice that is said to have confused even Solomon in all of His wisdom. Just how can the ultimate form of cleanness from death be brought forth from a process that include death and makes everyone involved in the process unclean? And why, oh why, is this chapter here in the middle of the narratives of the book of Numbers of all places?
The rebellion has been defeated. And yet the people still don’t seem to get it. Moses and Aaron were chosen by God to lead the people. And so since death and destruction don’t seem to make the point, and new kind of example must be made.