October 5, 2011 Devotion Sharing (Numbers 11)

Submitted by Timothy R. from Gracepoint Minneapolis Church

Numbers 11:4-17

What can I learn about Moses’ relationship with the Israelites from this incident?

Moses deeply cared about the Israelites as evident in this prayer to God. He wasn’t simply carrying out some job. He didn’t have the mindset that this was just something he was “supposed” to do. As he expressed, he felt the burden for caring for them that a parent feels about the burden for caring their child. It was a burden that he felt very heavily. It was so heavy that he said it was getting too heavy for him and that he would rather die.

It says so much about Moses’ character that he chose to accept this burden in this way. He fully embraced his role. As Moses cries out in frustration, he “didn’t give birth to them.” Yet he finds himself thrust into this role of leading these obstinate, complaining rabble. He never asked to be appointed as their leader in the first place. For all these reasons, he could have very well detached himself from them and had the attitude “What’s wrong with them?! What ingrates they are after all I did for them. I am going to walk away from them!” And he very well could have walked away from the responsibility of caring for them and could have washed his hands clean of them. To his credit, even though he cries out to God how heavy the burden is, he doesn’t cease being their leader. He remains and continues to embrace his role that God assigned to him. That’s why he feels so burdened because he accepts it and doesn’t abdicate his role.

I am really challenged and inspired by Moses. Many times I feel sense of burden that feels quite heavy for me to bear but of course it’s nothing compared to what he’s going through. I cannot imagine what it would feel like to be in his shoes. Yet just as Moses full embraced the role that God assigned to him, I must bear whatever burdens and responsibilities that God assigns me. This was true of Moses, this was true of Paul, this is true of my spiritual leaders who bore that burden when I was a source of burden to them, and most of all this was true of Jesus. Jesus bore the full burden and weight of my sins and the world’s sins.

What can I learn from Moses’ prayer?

Similar to with Abraham, similar to Moses’ prayer in Exodus 32, Moses is not afraid to completely honest before God. He is so genuine and authentic in his prayer. He’s not some robot, super-leader. In his prayer, he is so honest before God. He doesn’t try to sound more spiritual than he is actually feeling. He doesn’t fake being more gracious, more patient, more stronger than he really is. He doesn’t say “After all these years, by now I should be ____.” At this point, Moses feels quite overwhelmed and understandably so. And he freely pours out his heart before God. Tying this back to the first question, to fully embrace the burdens God gives me doesn’t mean that I can’t be honest before God about how I feel. God invites me to come before Him with whatever is burdening me and weighing me down.

What can I learn about God from the way God responds to Moses’ prayer?

God doesn’t get angry at Moses. God doesn’t answer “What about me? The people are complaining and now you are complaining too!” God is actually very sympathetic towards what Moses is going through. There is no reproof, no anger, no condemnation in what God says. Instead God validates how Moses must be feeling by coming up with solution to help Moses from being overwhelmed. And God’s solution shows that He fully understood what Moses was going through. From God’s response to Moses, I am reminded that even though He is God almighty, Creator the universe, He is not distant and unsympathetic to my cries of weakness, to my needs. As incredible as it seems, God really understands what it’s like being in my shoes. And when I think about it, it shouldn’t be surprising that God would be like this. For Jesus came to earth, and incarnated among us to experience all that we go through e.g. our temptations, our weaknesses, our limitations, etc. What an amazing God I serve!

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