The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord ’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” – Num. 11:23 NIV
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It is difficult to find the appropriate adjective to describe the conduct of the Israelites that Moses had to lead out of Egypt to the Promise Land. Using words such as insatiable, discontented, habitual murmurers and grumblers, and similar words will not be sufficient to describe their conduct. In one breath, they are grumbling about leadership, in another breath, they are searching for another god to worship even after witnessing the great deliverance work of the Almighty God when He saved them from Pharaoh and his army. The current complain from them is the fact that they have been eating manna since they left Egypt and will want a change of menu instantly – Num. 11:4-7. As far as they are concerned, how Moses was going to provide them their desire was not their interest after all he was the one that told them God sent Him to take them to a land flowing with Milk and Honey and until he fulfils that promise, they are ready to place all their demands on him.
Their demands left Moses with no choice than to approach the one who sent him on the task, that is the Almighty God. The conversation between the Almighty God and Moses throws up a lot of interesting points.
- It revealed again the anger of the Lord with acts of complaining and grumbling especially when it tilts towards ingratitude.
- It also revealed the frustration of Moses with the demand of his people wondering why he should be the one to be saddled with such a difficult task of leading a people with this kind of attitude. As far as Moses was concerned, it was looking more like a punishment to have such a task than an honour that it should be, to represent the Almighty God amongst a people that He was not just delivering from oppression but taking to a location of great comfort and prosperity – Num. 11:10-12.
The Almighty God however gave a response that shows that He is God as different from the reaction of a man like Moses. He told him to tell the Israelites to consecrate themselves in preparation for the next day when he will arrange for meat for them to eat, not for a few days but until they eat and it comes out of their nose as a punishment for their rejection of the Lord and their wailing, saying they plan to return to Egypt – Num. 11:18-20.
The expression of the human aspect of Moses wondering how the Lord of the entire universe was going to be able to do what he had said, was met with the response from the Almighty God in the scripture which is the foundation of today’s devotion. In that response, the Almighty God asked Moses whether he felt His hand was short.
He eventually lived up to His words and meat was not only provided for the Israelites, through the wind that the Lord sent, to bring quail from the seas to the people, but before they could start eating it, He sent a plague that killed many of them in an expression of His anger with them for act of ingratitude and disrespect – Num. 11:31-33.
Many Christians today although not yet struck down by plague are in possession of what seems like blessing or products of answered prayers but instead of such bringing them the expected joy, it is actually bringing sadness and regrets. Ranging from that desperately desired employment position to that material acquisition and that desperately desired relationship, they all got granted by no other but the Almighty God, but ended up bringing along lots of sad events and discomfort. That granted desire has become a snare for their lives. They actually asked and received but were not properly guided in what was demanded and how the demand was presented. The Apostle Paul had aroused the consciousness of Christians to the simple fact that a desired good thing may be harmful as it is not all good things that can uphold the one who desires it so one should not make a demand because it is in one’s capacity to have it, but because it will uphold one in faith and by inference relationship with God – 1Cor. 6:12; 10:23.
To be properly guided is to ensure that the demand does not in anyway hurt the personality of the Almighty God. The demand needs to be a product of love and respect for the Almighty God. A demand, made in gratitude and in the Will of the Almighty God. A demand that attempts to put the reputation of the Lord at stake, if not granted will be a demand that blackmails Him. He may grant it, not out of love for you but in order to prove He is God.
All demands should be made, like that of a respectful and grateful child to a loving father with its been granted or not, not a condition for further relationship with Him. God has ability to grant all demands but will love to grant those requests believing that He is not been blackmailed. He must be made to know that your love and continued respect for Him is not premised on His granting those requests. That is when He will grant that request and sadness will not be included in the package. The Israelites presented their desire in a disrespectful and ungrateful manner that tended towards blackmail and they got it but also got paid for their approach. May God guide us as we present our desires to Him in Jesus name. Amen.