Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent. And the anger of the Lord blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased. 11 Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me?Numbers 11:10-11 ESV
Whenever I read through the account of the Exodus, I subconsciously pick a person to relate to. First, I side with God. Reading about the Israelites’ faithless response, I compare it to parenting. How much have I given, sacrificed, for my kids just to see them fall into grumbling about what they do not have? I can completely understand why His anger blazed hotly.
Or, I connect with Moses. Displeased. Saddled with a bunch of complainers. Leading those that do not want to be led. In response to God’s instructions, he gathers helpers (no one should lead in isolation). He brings good news to the nation of Israel — meat is coming. God has heard your cries!
Then it starts to sound like not such good news.
You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you,Numbers 11:19
Moses gets a little grumbly in the process, which I can understand. He is uncomfortably sandwiched between an unhappy multitude and an angry God. He almost seems to stop mid-proclamation:
But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?”Numbers 11:21-22
Everyone seems to be against Moses. The Israelites, God, Miriam, Aaron. Yet, he turns to God and continues to lead the people of Israel as they begin their exploration of the promised land.
Through all of this, in honesty, I should not identify most with Moses, and certainly not God. I should see myself mostly in the people of Israel. They show me what I need to glean from their history.
Lack of faith
Blind to God’s blessings
Looking back instead of trusting
Pushing God’s patience
Complaining about misfortunes
Rejecting God’s plan
Questioning God’s design
They brought nothing to the table except a whining group of dependents. But God. He gave them everything they did not deserve. Protection, meat, leadership, government, wisdom, guidance, safety, and land. He continued to teach in patience and faithfulness as He tried to open their eyes to all he was doing. Many never got it. I do not want to miss his clear message and blessing on my life.
I could try to commiserate with God, or join Moses’s pity party, but my necessary place is in repentance as I relate to the people of Israel and seek to expunge the arrogance and pride that keeps God at a distance, that ignores His blessing instead of embracing His plan.
Dear God, thank you for your goodness to me. Thank you for the examples of faith in the bible, and thank for the example of those who are more like me. Those who fell short, who missed your working, who practiced grumbling instead of gratitude. Keep working on me, and forgiving when I fail. Thank you for sacrificing your very life that I might know true life. In Jesus name, amen.