Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Doubt It!

Recently, I have been reading Numbers and Ecclesiastes as part of my devotion time. I’ve tried reading numbers in the past and was never successful. Numbers is possibly THE most boring book in the Bible. In the past I always failed to see how the number of Israelites or where they were supposed to camp had anything to do with my life or today’s world. Since my “transformation” or “maturation” (is that a word? Probably not), I have tried to make it a point to really understand what I’m reading and actually get something out of everything I read. So, at first I thought that the point of Numbers was to show that God was in the process of fulfilling his promise to Abraham to make him a “father of many nations.” But I really think the book of Numbers is more than that, I think the real point to Numbers is actually the importance of obedience. I’m sure that’s not a new idea, but it is for me. Up to the book of Numbers God has continued to do amazing things for the Israelites. Throughout the entire book, God gives them instructions (some of which make no sense to me), when the Israelites obey, God blesses them. When they don’t obey or they whine and cry, God may still give them what they ask for, but he also punishes them, sometimes pretty severely.

So, I was reading Numbers 11 yesterday and that chapter in particular really challenged and convicted me. In the beginning of that chapter, the Israelites are really whining about having to eat manna. I mean rightfully so, sweet bread delivered miraculously and directly from heaven, they shouldn’t of had to put up with eating that (Is this blatantly sarcastic enough?). So they are complaining that they didn’t have meat to eat. Not only did they complain they actually longed for the food they had in Egypt as slaves. In verses 4 - 6 they said:
"4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!"

They are actually complaining about God taking care of them! Aren’t we all guilty of that? Doesn’t it happen like this for us too? God rescues us from something, takes complete, miraculous and undeserved care of us and at first we rejoice and praise him. We can’t believe how much our God cares for and loves us. Then time goes on, we get comfortable and start to take for granted what He has done for us. Then we start to complain that it’s not enough and expect more. This isn’t even what challenged and convicted me, although now that I’m typing it, I think I need to think more on this. I’ll be praying after I’m done typing. Is that weird when God uses you to convict yourself?

So the thing that convicted me the most was Numbers 11:23. Right before this verse God tells Moses that he is going to provide the Israelites with enough quail that they will be able to eat it every day for a month until they “gag and are sick of it.” Careful what you ask for: Prayer answered and Punishment Issued – in the same instance, Yikes! So God tells Moses that and Moses answers, 21 There are 600,000 foot soldiers here with me, and yet you say, ‘I will give them meat for a whole month!’ 22 Even if we butchered all our flocks and herds, would that satisfy them? Even if we caught all the fish in the sea, would that be enough?” (Numbers 11:21-22) All of the wonderful miracles God performed through and in front of Moses and he actually asks God how he can do what he said he would.

Then God answers, in all his wisdom, glory and splendor, “Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!” (Numbers 11:23) I mean unbelievable, I love the sarcasm that God uses. God essentially asks Moses, “Are you serious? How can I provide meat for 600,000 people for a month? Didn’t you see me split the stinking Red Sea? Haven’t I given you heavenly miracle bread everyday for 2 years? Didn’t you get water from a rock? A ROCK!”

All of that and Moses still doubted; still questioned if God was capable. I’m guilty of that; more than I want to admit. I have seen God work in mine and others lives SO many times, yet I still pray for God’s grace and help and sometimes don’t believe that He can do what I need or ask him to. Sometimes, He tells me He is going to move or do something and just like Moses, I ask, “Can you do that God?” Of course He can do it, He created the entire world in 7 DAYS, He can do anything.

And that’s the beauty part…God not only can do all those things He promises and that we ask, He WANTS to do it all for us because He loves us that much. Even after we doubt, God still takes care of us. We may have to suffer the consequences of our actions, but God still meets our needs and pours out his love. That’s love that NONE of us deserve. And that’s what makes that love so unexplainably wonderful; even after we doubt, question, turn away, forsake, whine, run away, and prove we don’t deserve it, God still offers it; always and unconditionally.

When we question God's ability, we put Him in a box. We bring Him down to our level and place Him in the same capability index that we live in. How is it even possible to think for one second that a God that has done everything He has, is not capable of anything He says. I couldn't imagine living in a world with a god that limited. My God can and does do anything and everything. My God is ALMIGHTY!