(The Word Numbers 11:4-6, 10-17) Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will
give us meat to eat? 5 We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”…… 10 Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and the anger of the Lord was greatly aroused; Moses also was displeased. 11 So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian carries a nursing child,’ to the land which You swore to their fathers? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ 14 I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!
16 So the Lord said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.
The Book of Numbers is a very interesting Book. The level of detail with which God operates is indeed amazing. There are so many beautiful stories which give the believer insight into who our God really is. His love, anger, benevolence, mercy, favor, protection, justice, commitment, pain- attributes that come to light as you read this book.
One of the stories is found in Chapter 11, when the children of Israel were whining about not having meat to eat in the wilderness. They had been on this journey out of Egypt for over a year and they wanted to eat meat. They were tired of the provision God made-manna. The Bible says they ‘yielded to intense craving’. At this point, all they could remember of their experience in Egypt was the fish, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks the onions and the garlic, they ate freely in Egypt. They forgot that Egypt was the place of slavery and bondage. They forgot how long it took God to get them out of there.
They claimed their whole being was ‘dried up’ and they despised the manna which God had provided for them. I could stop right there and focus on their complaining. However, what I found very heart rending was Moses response. He really whined. The Lord was angry with His
people but he must have been amused by Moses response. The Message Bible put it like this, ‘Why are you treating me this way? What did I ever do to you to deserve this? Did I conceive them? Was I their mother? So why dump the responsibility of this people on me? Why tell me to carry them around like a nursing mother, carry them all the way to the land you promised to their ancestors? Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people who are whining to me, ‘Give us meat; we want meat.’ I can’t do this by myself—it’s too much, all these people. If this is
how you intend to treat me, do me a favor and kill me‘
I found it very funny. Moses must have been really frustrated. The forty year journey had really just begun. And he had experienced quite a few challenges already. This one was irritating, they wanted to eat meat. Nothing else would do. I believe he must have felt, ‘I can do without THIS problem’. He was so upset, he preferred to die. Can you imagine?
But see the heart of a loving Father, Moses was complaining just like the people were. God was angry with the people but was compassionate
towards Moses. Instead of striking him dead, like Moses requested or like he did, the people who championed the desire for meat, He raised seventy people to help Moses with the task of leading the people to the Promised Land.
The heart of God is fair and just. He looks beyond the obvious and addresses the crux of the matter. Why didn’t he strike Moses dead for daring to complain or question His leadership? Because God is the just One. He looks at motives, the spirit of the situation, the entire picture. Instead
of striking him dead he provided more than enough help for him. He provided adequate help for him. God is not a task master. He is a loving Father.
There are times, like Moses we feel the heat, but don’t cry out because we feel it will offend God. It would amount to not being in faith or complaining the way the people of Israel did. This is particularly so when we believe we are in the perfect will of God. We need to take a cue from Moses and cry out when we feel the pain. He will always answer. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘Lord this is too much for me’. ‘Lord, help me’. ‘Lord, I can’t go on’. ‘Lord it hurts too much’. Tell Him exactly how it feels and He will bring help your way.
Some stories in the Bible are just stories until they become your story, then you begin to identify more with the characters. It is easy to criticize Moses for complaining, until you are in similar situations and need to complain. I have been in that place of pain, discomfort and uncertainty
asking the Lord, ‘Why are You allowing me to pass this way?’. “What did I do to deserve this lot?’ Like He did for Moses He sent me help every time and made the pain easier to bear or go away completely. Each time, He came through for me.
Like I always say, he is not a respecter of persons. If he did it for Moses, then He’ll do it for you. If he did it for Chinwe, He’ll do it for you. He knows your pain, He knows your heart’s cry. Just tell it to Him. He will send help, adequate help. Trust me. He will. Ck