Hope Chapel Daily Devotional
"Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!" (Numbers 11:23).
Sometimes we as Jesus’ disciples and even spiritual leaders need reminders of who is really in charge. Such was the case for Moses as we read what was happening in Numbers 11. The Israelites were once again engaged in their favourite pastime...whining! Their current complaint? They wanted meat to eat. God had been providing manna for over a year for the people. “The manna looked like small coriander seeds, and it was pale yellow like gum resin. The people would go out and gather it from the ground. They made flour by grinding it with hand mills or pounding it in mortars. Then they boiled it in a pot and made it into flat cakes. These cakes tasted like pastries baked with olive oil. The manna came down on the camp with the dew during the night” (Numbers 11:7-9). A year into their wilderness travels, however, the miracle manna had lost its luster–the wonder of the miracle had given way to contempt for the lack of variety.
Both Moses and God react to this ingratitude. Moses has had enough and tells God, “ 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 11:14-15)! The man known for his humility and patience has had enough. God’s response includes both a solution for Moses’ overwhelming despair and for His people’s complaint. First, Moses is told to divide his responsibilities amongst seventy other leaders, who God will empower with His Spirit just as He had Moses. Secondly, Moses is to instruct the people, “‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the Lord heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the Lord, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt’” (11:18-20)?
In his moment of despair, Moses balks. Where is God going to get that amount of meat in the wilderness? Moses expresses his disbelief–what God has said will happen is just not possible! To which God replies, "Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!" (11:23). The very next day, “the Lord sent a wind that brought quail from the sea and let them fall all around the camp. For miles in every direction there were quail flying about three feet above the ground. So the people went out and caught quail all that day and throughout the night and all the next day, too. No one gathered less than fifty bushels” (11:31-32)! One bushel is roughly equal to 35 litres–you do the math!
In his despair Moses questioned the omnipotence of God. He was a man renowned for this faith, his humility, a man whom God had chosen to speak face to face with. Yet at this moment he just can’t see a way out. As God’s chosen leader of the people, he had become sick and tired of the perpetual whining in the face of God’s ever-present care. He was faced with a problem he could not fix...and saw no means of correcting it. God graciously reminded Moses of who was really in charge. God had a plan to deal with these whiners and as impossible as it sounded to conventional wisdom, Moses was reminded to trust his miracle working God and not the limitations of the present situation. What insurmountable problem are you facing today? Don’t despair, but remember God’s reminder to Moses, and our reminder from the author of the book of Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Amen!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!