Summary: Moses, Pt. 9
GOD’S EASY YOKE AND LIGHT BURDEN (NUMBERS 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 and walked around excitedly, his jaw dropped at the wide selection available. 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 undersized 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, measurement and shape.
“May I have this one?” he asked the Lord. The Lord answered, “My child, 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 sporadic 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.
Acknowledge How You Feel and Ask for Help
10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the LORD, "Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ’Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now--if I have found favor in your eyes--and do not let me face my own ruin." 16 The LORD said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone. (Num 11:10-17)