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Passage: Numbers 11
Key Verse: The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.” V. 23
One million people. Bad attitudes. A desert. Hunger and lust. One tired leader.
Not a great picture.
When we get to the eleventh chapter of Numbers, Moses had been leading the Jews out of Egypt for a long time. It’s here that we find the people complaining about the manna that fell from Heaven each day. They were sick of it. They were tired of the desert, distrustful of their leader and disgusted by their food. Their thoughts were so impaired by lust that they started wishing they were back in Egypt. They lusted after the variety of food in Egypt, all along forgetting that they had to pay for it with their own freedom.
There are so many lessons to be learned in this chapter of the Bible, but today my focus turns to Moses. In this part of his story, we see this leader’s humanity and frailty portrayed once again. The same man, who held up his staff as he watched the red sea part, is here seen at his lowest point. He’d had it. No wonder! The task ahead of him was difficult. The people he led were covetous, idolatrous and hard-hearted.
As strong as his character was, this giant of faith was still… human.
Moses had seen God move, over and over again. He marveled as God sent plagues against defying Pharaoh, just as He said He would. He watched as Yahweh parted the waters of the red sea, just to close them again, thus killing those who defied His sovereignty. He watched God provide a pillar of cloud to give them guidance by day and a pillar of fire to shine in the darkness of night. And yet, here in this passage, when God tells him that he heard the people’s complaint and would answer by providing meat for them, not for a day or a week, but for an entire month, Moses questioned God.
And offered to give Yahweh a little help (vs.21-22).
I sit back and smile as I imagine this long-bearded, calloused old man offering a helping hand to the One who spoke the stars into existence: “Do you want me to go hunting, Lord? Or maybe fishing? Should I help you out?”
I smile not because I think it’s funny. I smile out of gratitude.
If one of the great giants of Hebrews 11 displayed such wavering faith, there must be hope for me.
Because I don’t know about you, but from time to time I find myself offering God a helping hand.
Yes, Lord, I’ve seen you provide time and again, but don’t you see this deadline here? I’m running out of time. I’m running out of resources. What if I cut corners? Do you want me to go into the field and kill some deer to help you feed my family? Can’t you see it, Lord? You’re almost late!
Yes, Lord, you’ve never failed me. You said I’d never be alone, as long as I have you. But this guy, well, no, he’s not a strong Christian, but I have waited for too long. I FEEL lonely! I think I should give it a try. Can’t you see it, Lord? You’re almost late!
Oh, that we would once and for all trust what our eyes have seen in the past! Oh, that we would let this truth be etched on the walls of our anxious thoughts: That our eyes cannot always see His hands and our ears cannot always hear His steps as He walks beside us. But still, He does!
We must choose to trust. We must choose to wait to see His glory displayed once more. Because it will… in His time.
It is God, not me, who holds the timeline of events in my life. All I know is that I can look back and see that He has never, ever, ever been late.
It is Yahweh, not me, who knows what’s best for me. All I know is that, as I look back, the only times I’ve suffered is when I stepped out of His will and took matters into my own hands. Conversely, Every time I chose to wait and trust, He has always delivered His best. And His resources have always proven to be enough…
Maybe His food tastes a bit blend at times. You may get sick of it. You may get tired of waiting for the meat that your body and soul so long for. But before you offer to meddle with God’s plan, before you question His timing and His methods, remember Yahweh’s answer to Moses. His answer is a question. It’s the same thing He asks you and me, when we foolishly dare to question His ways:
“Is My power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”
“Duties are ours, events are God’s; When our faith goes to meddle with events, and to hold account upon God’s Providence, and beginneth to say, ‘How wilt Thou do this or that?’ we lose ground; we have nothing to do there; it is our part to let the Almighty exercise His own office, and steer His own helm; there is nothing left for us, but to see how we may be approved of Him, and how we roll the weight of our weak souls upon Him who is God omnipotent, and when we thus essay miscarrieth, it shall be neither our sin nor our cross.” Samuel Rutherford
“Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:27-31