BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors? Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? They keep whining to me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!” Numbers 11:12-15 NLT
When I read these verses I see a leader at the breaking point. Moses has a great task and a great responsibility before him. We see the Lord had promised Moses at another time when he was overwhelmed by the task he was called to, “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
In the midst of the stress of life, it is easy to feel that it is all up to us. That it is our strength, our wisdom, our resources that need to solve all problems. This point in the story of the trip to the promised land the people are complaining about having no meat and only manna to eat. The people are looking to Moses and Moses is looking to himself.
Moses approaches the problem with natural thinking, “Even if we butchered all our flocks and herds, would that satisfy them? Even if we caught all the fish in the sea, would that be enough?” (Numbers 11:22 NLT) The Lord was about to reveal Himself as the God of supernatural supply.
The Lord responds to Moses’ cry in two ways. First, the Lord instructs Moses to have other men share the leadership load so he doesn’t feel alone. The Lord does this by placing His Spirit on 70 elders, who serve with Moses in a position of spiritual authority. Second, the Lord brings quail into the camp that swarm three feet off the ground for miles around God’s people.
In the next account, we see spies sent to scout out the promised land. The twelve spies are impressed with the richness of the land but intimidated by the inhabitants. Joshua and Caleb focused on what God was able to do and said, “We can certainly conquer it.” (Numbers 13:30) The others complained, “All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” (Numbers 13:32,33 NLT)
The masses quickly predicted and prepared for their demise and felt the best option was to return to Eygpt. The Lord’s judgment quickly gets their attention, but they don’t really learn their lesson. Paul would reflect back on this time when he wrote a letter to the Corinthians, “And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.” (1 Corinthians 10:10)
It is interesting to see this played out during Jesus’ ministry with the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus tells His disciples to give the people something to eat and they report, “we only have five loaves and two fish.” Once again they look to their own devices and resources to meet a supernatural need. The Lord blesses and then multiplies the loaves and fish so the need is more than met.
We can say “God-size challenges require trusting the Lord for supernatural supply.” But that would allow us to believe it is up to us at times and up to God at others. Proverbs challenges us, “in all your ways acknowledge Him…” (Proverbs 3:6)
When the task looks impossible, when what is needed is woefully lacking, remember that there is a God we serve and can call on, who is unlimited in what He can do and what He can supply.