Wilderness Message

by Rosanne Osborne

“Hey Pharaoh, would you let the Hebrews hold 
a God-festival in the wilderness?” 
Pharaoh was incensed. He thought those Hebrews 
were lazy. I will show them, he said. “You must 
get your own straw, but make the same number 
of bricks that I have previously required.” 

Moses was caught in a bind. God required
him to lead his people, but Pharoah held
them back. Threatened by their increased number,
the king feared their possible wilderness
freedom more. To maintain control, he must
stop this Moses from leading the Hebrews.

Scavenging for their own straw, the Hebrews
were angered. How dare this king require
them to increase a daily load that must
have seemed unbearable. They held
Moses responsible, too. His wilderness
notion seemed insane to their number.

How could they produce the same number
of bricks as before? The seething Hebrews
fell into an emotional wilderness
that may have been worse than the required
physical enslavement that had its hold
on them. God’s intervention was a must!

The overseers were upset. They must
be certain that the required number 
of bricks was produced. They alone held 
the ludicrous goal over the Hebrews. 
Charged with seeing that the required 
bricks were fired was its own wilderness.

These reactions redefined wilderness.
This emblem of freedom, a decided must
as liberation is conceived, required
those enslaved, those bound by work, to number
its underside, its horrors. Those Hebrews
experienced what no-man’s-land could hold.

Man was required to endure wilderness.
If it was to lessen its hold, they must
number its worth to the Hebrew soul.

An English professor, Methodist pastor, clarinetist, and poet, Rosanne Osborne holds the Ph.D. in English from the University of Alabama, the MFA from Spalding University, and the MRE and MDiv from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She grew up in Missouri but has lived most of her adult life in Louisiana. Her work has appeared in Tar River Poetry, Alabama Review, Christian Century, Ruminate, Thema, Penwood Review, and The Village Pariah.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s