It’s Pentecost. The day that God opened up the heavens and, for the first time, poured out the Holy Spirit—the Spirit that indwelled and empowered Jesus—into the open and waiting hearts of all disciples. It’s the day when holiness was unleashed and altars became unnecessary. It’s the day Moses’ wish came true. It’s the day the curse of Eden was reversed.
But even though God was sharing with us the greatest gift imaginable—God’s own Spirit—we don’t always actually want it. Sometimes we look to God only to fill our physical needs and ignore the much greater spiritual gifts that are right before us. The Israelites, our spiritual predecessors, often were the same way. So this Pentecost we look back to a story in the Book of Numbers, from the Hebrew Scriptures, about how the Israelites misunderstood God’s gifts much as we do and suffered the consequences.