This is Part 2 of the 3 part series "Our God is Able." This series covers a sermon that I preached a couple weeks ago at Center Line Christian Fellowship in Colorado Springs, CO. Each post covers one of the three points I covered on what happens when we move from asking God why to questioning His ability. Part 1 (HERE) pointed out that the first thing that moves us toward questioning God's ability is when we listen to the rabble. Picking up in Numbers 11:10-20, here's Part 2...
After Moses heard the people complaining, he approaches God and questions why he has been given such a great burden (Numbers 11:10-15). In verse 13 Moses asks God, "Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!" In this question we see the second thing that moves us toward questioning God’s ability…
2: We Wrongly Assume Responsibility.
In this passage we see a couple different things, the first is that we get to see is Moses tell God that the Israelite people are a great burden and we get to see God answer that by relieving some of that burden. He did this by telling Moses to appoint 70 other leaders from among the people (v. 16-17). I think speaks volumes about how much God cares about what burdens us, His being okay with us asking why and His willingness to give us rest (Matthew 11:28). But, we also get to see Moses assume that it is his responsibility to meet the needs of the Israelite people. (v. 13)
Somehow, Moses forgot that God claimed them as HIS people in Exodus 3:10 when He said, "So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring MY PEOPLE the Israelites out of Egypt.” (emphasis added)
Because God said they were His people, He was responsible to provide for them and up to this point, He had. But, somewhere in the complaining Moses began to lose sight that these were God’s people, not his, and God would take care of them. God was absolutely clear about this. Sadly, we assume the same thing. We assume that God’s promises to us are somehow our responsibility to fulfill. But they’re not. If we belong to God, He provides. John 15:19 says,
"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. We were chosen out of this world."
We belong to Jesus and He fulfills the promises He makes. This is not to say we have zero responsibility. When God makes promises to us, there are responsibilities that we have (whether it's to give up or take on something. In this case the Israelites had to walk to the Promise Land), but one of our more important responsibilities is to believe and trust Him that He’ll fulfill what He promises.
After God addresses Moses crying out for relief from the burden, He answers the peoples complaint for meat. It's in this next exchange that we see the effects of listening to the rabble and wrongly assuming responsibility. God's answer comes in v.18-20.
18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’
It seems absolutely clear that the people had already moved to the belief that God was not able (or maybe willing) to take care of them. Then we get to see the difference in God's response to Moses asking 'why' and the people questioning His ability. Sadly, in the next few verses, we see Moses also move from asking God why to questioning God’s ability to do what He said He would. We'll unpack that in the last post, but I'll leave you with this.
Don't listen to the rabble and know that it's His responsibility. He's faithful to do what He promises.
Knowing it's not my responsibility,