GOD’S EASY YOKE AND LIGHT BURDEN (NUM 11:4-33)
A lady from a church I had preached before once approached me and asked me to retell a story that I had supposedly told her congregation. I said, “What story?” She told me the gist of the story, and I said, “I did not tell it.” The story was beautiful and unforgettable.
It was about a man who had it with carrying a heavy cross on his back. He decided that it was unfair to him that he had been carrying it for so long. So he came to Jesus and pointed out that the cross had become unbearable.
"Lord, Lord, I do not want this cross any more. It’s too heavy for me to bear."
“My child, let me take you to a place that will take care of your burden.”
Then God led him to a huge room and in the room were crosses of various shapes and of all sizes – huge crosses, average ones, and small ones. Then the Lord said to him, "Since you do not like what you are carrying, why don’t you leave it with me and choose something you think it’s your size."
The man entered the huge room, dropped his jaw at the wide selection, and walked around excitedly. He noticed a big and impressive cross, but decided it was too heavy for him after picking it up for size. He saw a small cross and flashed a smile, but decided that it was also not right for him.
After a long while weighing his options, he saw a cross in a corner. It seemed old, used, and discarded. Upon carrying it, the man discovered it was the exact thing he had in mind- the right weight, size, and pleasant shape.
“May I have this one?” he asked the Lord. The Lord answered, "Isn’t that what you brought in?"
Moses had it with leading people, serving others and helping them. The Israelites were no closer to following him in the desert than they were when they first left Egypt. In fact, they disliked him, blamed and resented him. He survived three complains before arriving at Sinai (Ex 19:1) – of bitter water (Ex 15:25), no food (Ex 16:20) or drink (Ex 17:1-2), and at Sinai, he saw the people committing idolatry and immorality. As a result, a plague struck (Ex 32:35), adding to the 3,000 people already dead (Ex 32:28).
After leaving Sinai on the second month of the second year (Num 10:11), the Israelites complained about their situation at their first stop, Taberah (Num 11:1-3), and when they reached the next one, Kibroth Hattaavah (Num 11:34), the intermittent grumbling turned to continuous wailing. The intense crying before Moses’ tent so troubled and displeased Moses that he asked God five successive questions (vv 11-13). The key word in Moses’ exchange with the Lord is the word “carry” that appears twice in verse 12, once in verse 14, and twice again 17.
Moses felt he was trapped, with the full weight of Israel on his shoulders alone, and he harbored and expressed the thought of dying (v 15).
What should we do when things and people are overwhelming? Where can we find help when we are faced with complains and cries? How does God assure us when we are burdened with care?
Three times God spoke to Moses. The first speech specified the help of elders; the next chided the immaturity of Israel; and the last challenged God’s response to Moses’ burden.