Saturday, April 10, 2010
"Has the Lord's Arm Been Shortened?"
Numbers 11:23: "And the LORD said to Moses, 'Has the LORD'S arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not.'"
Poor Moses. He was in a predicament...a very tight spot...a tough place. If you ever think you've got too many problems, or too much responsibility, or overwhelming issues...take a look at Moses. I won't go into the whole story of the travails of the people of Israel and their sojourn in the desert and the wilderness after their escape from their captivity in Egypt...but suffice it to say that Moses had a huge problem. He never wanted this responsibility in the first place...to be the leader of these stubborn, rebellious, cranky, complaining group of people whom God had chosen as His own special nation. Moses felt under-qualified, ill-prepared, and unequipped for the task he had been given. He would gladly have given this "great honor" away to another and gone back to being a shepherd. But God had other plans for Moses...God had great confidence in him...God specifically chose Moses for this purpose even before Moses knew who God was.
So in the eleventh chapter of the book of Numbers, the thousands of Israelites are hungry. They are sick and tired of eating manna...it was like eating cornmeal or flour for every meal. They had no meat or fresh vegetables. They had no dessert or snacks. Just manna, every day, every meal. And they complained and cried and moaned and groaned, so much so that Moses just wanted to die himself rather than deal with their complaints any longer. He poured out his misery to God and in verse 15 he said, "If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now..."
Have you ever felt like that? Those of us who have had children, or who have been leaders of large groups of people or employees, know what it feels like to feel helpless and frustrated when we can't take care of everyone's needs. Or perhaps when we are overwhelmed with pain, sickness, sorrow, anxiety for our future or our loved one's future...we cry out in anguish and fear to God just as Moses did, in verse 14, we wail, "I am not able to bear all these people (or illness, or financial burdens, or attacks from the enemy-you fill in the blank) alone, because the burden is too heavy for me." And like Moses in verses 21-22, we question God's ability to provide for our needs...we doubt His authority over our circumstances, we fear we will not be able to accomplish exactly what He has ordered. But look at God's response to Moses in verse 23:
"Has the Lord's arm been shortened?"
Sadly, because the people of Israel continued to be so rebellious and disobedient to all that God had commanded them, they suffered greatly. They refused to trust in the One who had already opened the Red Sea for them so they could escape Pharoah's army...He had shown them His power and mercy and great love over and over, and they continued to rebel and complain.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to be like the children of Israel in the wilderness. I want to hear His voice, I want to trust His Word. I want to enter "The Promised Land".
Lord, In my heart I know that You are all-powerful, all-wise, and all-loving. In my heart I know that You love us so much that You were willing to give Your "only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) In my heart I know that the thoughts that You think toward us are "thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give (us) a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)
"Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24) Amen.