It never surprises me how quickly we can be to jump to conclusions and assign blame. Several years ago, while traveling to an event with a couple guys, the conversation turned to a recently revealed million-dollar highway construction error discovered in a recently constructed ramp for the Sprague exit on Highway 16. The newly built ramp was misaligned by several feet from the overpass. What surprised me was the consensus in the car that heads needed to roll, someone needed to be fired. I find it insightful how we can assign blame without knowing the facts!
One of my recent Bible readings reminded me of how easy it is to blame God when things get tough. I wish that I could say that I have risen above this kind of reaction, but I am also prone to shortsighted responses (read “wining and complaining”). If you find your responding with a knee jerk reaction, take heart, you are in good company. We find Moses doing the same thing in Numbers 11. While there are several insights in this passage, I want to focus on one. We need to trust God’s working in every situation in our lives.
Numbers 11 finds Moses dealing with a disgruntled people on a road trip through the dessert. The challenge was not the repeated question of, “Are we there yet?” but “the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes,” (Numbers 11:1) And a little later that difficult child(ren), “Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat!” (Numbers 11:4) Their dissatisfaction spread among the ranks, “Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent.” (Numbers 11:10) I guess road trips have not really changed much in several thousand years!
Now, it is not like they were being neglected. It was just that they were tired of God’s provision of manna. “But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” (Numbers 11:6) They were not being neglected. God’s plan was not what they expected! God was working to prepare them for greater blessing that comes through trusting Him. Unfortunately, these adults would never fully realize the blessing of the promised land.
Moses also finally crumbled under the pressure of the incessant whining of God’s people. He questions what had done to God to be put in this position of leadership over these people. Let me encourage you to read the whole account. Moses’ confession in verse 14 hints at what God is doing. Moses states, “I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me.” (Numbers 11:14) And here is something to reflect on in our lives. God is working to bring us to a place of trusting Him in every situation, both easy and challenging! The blaming of God and others is really an indicator of our own need. A need to grow in our trust of our Heavenly Father who is working out all things for our good.
A good question to ask ourselves when life does not match our expectations and our stress level start to peak is, “What is the Lord wanting to teach me?” It is also worth pointing out the God did not fault Moses for bringing his burdens to Him, even with a not so good attitude. Moses’ confession of his own insufficiency opens the door for the Father to work. In fact, the next section reveals God’s solution for the problem.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson