SOAP Journal – 13 March 2017 (Numbers 11:23)

The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”

Numbers 11:23

The Israelites complained. They were receiving manna from Heaven — what is later said to be the bread of angels — and complained that they were not getting meat. The account gives some insight into who, exactly, was complaining and it was not everyone … at least, not at first. The folks who started the complaining and who eventually ended up buried in the valley were the rabble who were among them [who] had greedy desires (v 4). This is not to say that the rabble failed to get the whole congregation stirred up. The greedy folks got everyone else all riled up, too. The situation was so challenging that Moses went to God and prayed for death if there was to be no help in dealing with the whining of the Israelites (vv 11-15).

Not only did God provide help with the complaining — God put the Holy Spirit on 70 men who then helped Moses — but He also provided meat for the complainers, giving them something else to put in their mouths besides air for complaints.  Before God supplied the help and the meat, Moses had a moment of trying to wrap his mind around how God planned to supply a month’s worth of meat to 600,000+ people. Moses’ questions are genuinely Moses trying to understand how God is going to accomplish what God has promised, as evidenced by God’s response to them. And God’s response is this morning’s verse.

Is the LORD’s power limited? This is a question with which every believer must come to grips at some time. The demands of life are too much for us to understand how God will meet every need we have. Sometimes, we do not understand how He will provide us with employment — the market is saturated with qualified candidates and we are the least of the lot. Other times, we do not understand how God will supply a roof over our heads. I am wrestling with this one. Every avenue seems to involve some caveat that requires still more faith. Moses was wrestling with how there could possibly be enough meat for 600,000+ people to eat meat for a month when the only meat in sight was their livestock and that livestock was insufficient to the requirement. Moses did not have the benefit of being able to read about what God was about to do for him or about the time that Jesus took a few bits of bread and some little fish and fed thousands. Is the LORD’s power limited? My knee-jerk response is to say “No. His power is limitless.” The follow-on to my response is, “Then trust.” Which is exactly what God says to Moses.

God follows up His question with a statement. When asked if God’s power is limited, I can almost see Moses lowering his head in shame at having doubted and shaking his head to indicate a “No.” I can see it, because it is almost exactly how I respond when this same question is leveled at me. God says to Moses, Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not. In essence, God says that Moses just needs to trust Him. And God invites me to the same place. The same question is followed by almost exactly the same challenge.

In the times when I am not sure how God is going to accomplish some sort of provision, I need to trust Him and see whether His word comes true for me or not. I have never, in all the time I have walked with Him, seen His word not come true for me.

Father, thank You that You deal with my attempts to understand as they are: the attempts of a child to understand his Father. You know that I will not be able to wrap my mind around everything that You do, but You still work to draw out faith in Your ability to do what You have promised. To borrow from and modify a movie, that which You have promised You will perform. Thank You for being worthy of my trust. Please increase my meager trust.

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