Last week we saw that Jonah wanted God to kill him. Why? He was so pro-Israel nationalistic and angry at Assyria that rather than extend God’s grace and forgiveness to the Assyrians, he wanted to die. That’s twisted.
This week it’s Moses’ turn to want to die.
After successfully leading the Israelites out of Egypt with amazing miracles the people complained about the manna that they had to eat (interestingly, the Hebrew word for Manna, means “what is it?”).
“Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. The people would go about and gather it and grind it between two millstones or beat it in the mortar, and boil it in the pot and make cakes with it; and its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil” (Num. 11:7-8).
[Note: bdellium is an aromatic gum or resin that was derived from the mucus excretions of a tree. It sounds gross, but scripture says it tasted sweet.]
The people were complaining because they wanted meat. They were tired of picking up free manna that just showed up every morning (except the Sabbath). Now, having backpacked my share of miles and mountain passes over the decades, the thought of just going out of my tent and finding healthy edible food on the ground sounds wonderful – just think about it: No food to pack, no cooking pots, no fuel – sign me up Jack!
But I digress....
Moses asks God: Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness” (Num. 11:13-15).
Read it again and notice Moses’ focus. It’s on his own limitations.
“Where am I to get...” “I am not able...”
Moses felt like he was trapped. No way out. He could not do the job before him. Have you ever felt like that? We all have at some point.
Here’s his context: The people (who by the way never said “please” or “thank you” to Moses) were on the verge of a riot, demanding meat instead of the gummy mysterious manna and Moses, in typical fashion, thinks he alone has to produce the answer. This is his mistake, and this is why he allowed himself to get to the point
that he just wanted to die: He was taking on more responsibility for the Israelites than was his to bear.
So Moses freaks out and asks God to kill him “if you will treat me like this” and what does God do?
God provides 70 capable men who “shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone” (11:17).
This is a super simple learning point: We do not have to take responsibility for that which we are not to take responsibility. We are not alone. We have a God who loves us and a community that supports us. The community of believers around us is made up of supernaturally gifted people to serve the Church and each other.
Don’t go it alone. Call out to God and a friend for help.
Pastor John Next week we’ll look at Elijah, who also wanted to die (1 Kings 19:1-4).