Moses vs the People
1The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” 8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”
One of the key elements of Christian leadership of any kind is to put ourselves in the place where we lead in the act of trusting God. Our faith is tested openly – if God is not with us, we are publicly stuffed! But if He is, then the people learn from it and grow in faith.
Each time there was a crisis, Moses had to be the one to assure the people that God would come through, that He could be trusted. Very nearly, they mutinied many times, but God DID come through for them, often in such dramatic ways they should never have been in any more doubt that God was with them and that Moses spoke the truth. When the camp was full of millions of little quails all running around to be scooped up, that would have been dramatic enough!
Last week I gave four talks to students from many countries on Colossians. A big part of what I was saying was that Jesus is more powerful than anything else and can and will deliver us from the power of sin and our past. The questions that came up regarding sinful habits people were trapped in, the pain of family trauma and unforgiveness was heartbreaking. Each question was like a challenge thrown at my feet, “You say Jesus can deliver me? How can I trust what you say is true?” The answer is that I have found Him to be faithful, not only on my life but many others’.
In short: do I know the power of Jesus to save me from myself, to provide, lead and love me – enough to assure others that He is faithful? If I don’t know His power personally to change me, how can I hold out hope to others? Yet we take courage from Moses’ example. God IS faithful, so let’s throw ourselves wholeheartedly on Him and never fear that He won’t ever let us fall.