We open Numbers 11 to find God’s people complaining about the menu. Here is God calling His people to move forward into the Promised Land and here they are, after experiencing his daily provision for more than a year, complaining to high heaven about having to eat manna every day.
Reminiscing about the good times has everyone convinced that the future couldn’t possibly be as good as the past. Somehow they’ve managed to forget all about the chains of bondage and Egypt looks like an oasis compared to where they are now. Here is a perfect example of how acting on what you believe can prove fatal if what you believe is wrong.
Instead of gratitude, God’s people are giving Him nothing but attitude. Before long, masses of people are weeping in the doorways of their tents and as if Moses’ job wasn’t hard enough already, now he is faced with the daunting task of leading this unruly and unwilling mob forward.
Fed up with all of the whining, Moses calls for a one-on-one with God, who is equally displeased. Moses has reached his tolerance level and is beginning to lose composure.
After inviting God to his pity party, he demands to know exactly what he’s done to deserve this. Not only that, but he’s had it with trying to do what God has called him to do. After all, he never signed up for this – it was all God’s idea from the beginning to love and lead these stiff-necked people who are as stubborn as donkeys. And that’s putting it nicely.
Moses goes on a huge rant, telling God it wasn’t him who conceived these people and he won’t be nursing and carrying them all the way to the land of milk and honey. He’s also sick and tired of playing Mr. Mom every night to a bunch of kids screaming for dinner. And like a wife telling her husband she needs a break or she’s leaving him, Moses tells God this is the final straw — he cannot and will not continue to do it all without any help from Him.
The moment Moses reaches his breaking point, God casually steps in with the answer. It’s okay to rant and let it all out to God; after all, He can handle it. But sometimes God is just waiting for us to get to the place where we ask Him for help.
God’s solution is simple, but effective. He instructs Moses to gather seventy elders and line them up beside him in the tabernacle. Then He does something miraculous. God takes of the spirit which is on Moses and puts it upon the others so they can share the burden of the people with him and he will no longer have to bear it alone. How brilliant is that?
Leaders, take lesson. If you are carrying the burden yourself and not sharing “the anointing” of leadership, you are missing it. No wonder you’re grumpy half the time — God never meant for you to carry it alone. Whether it’s a church, a mission-based ministry or a business, if you’ll ask God, He will send you help to accomplish the vision. Yes, there may be a time and a season for you to carry it alone, but sooner or later, you will need others to help you.
When God gives you a vision, you can only go so far by doing it alone. Like it or not, God’s perfect plan for you involves other people. While your independent spirit wants to do it all and get credit where credit is due, the Holy Spirit wants to show how much God can do when we all do a little.
Where are you in Numbers 11? Are you one of the complainers, reminiscing about the good old days instead of looking forward to what God has in store? According to Numbers 11, it’s okay to complain, depending on who you complain to. You can complain to others who will only make it worse or complain to God who can do something about it.
Or are you a leader who’s carrying the burden all by yourself, entertaining thoughts of quitting? Don’t give up. If you’ll ask God, He will send help from the sanctuary. Be wise and use discernment when recruiting others onto your team. But when God sends you good people, release them and delegate responsibility instead of controlling their every move. Otherwise, you’ll still end up doing everything yourself and be no farther ahead.
Maybe you’re an up and coming leader who’s waiting for an opportunity to lead. Find a place you can serve and be faithful. God uses difficult people and places to prepare you for greater things. Don’t quit or leave until He releases you. Even when He does release you, be careful and prayerful when stepping out. In a multitude of counsellors, there is safety. Get a coach or mentor and start taking steps toward fulfilling your destiny.
Wherever you are in this story, God is waiting for you to call on Him. He has the solution packaged, stamped and ready to mail if you’ll only ask Him to send it. Don’t be discouraged. This can be your turning point to a far greater plan than you had in mind. God can take you farther than you could ever go without Him and others…if only you will let Him.