Trusting God in the difficult times
In Numbers 11:1-15, we find Israel a year into their journey and already getting fed up with God’s provision for them. Humanly speaking the desert was an inhospitable place in comparison to Egypt with its fruitful and plentiful food supplies and water. But it was here that we had to learn to trust and not worry. We were being set free mentally, physically and spiritually and had to realise that as people of the Living God, the kingdom we live in operates differently. Note Yeshua’s specific comment in Matthew 6:31-34 that it is the gentiles who seek after all the necessities of life; we should not do that because our lives are governed by God and He alone gives and takes life; we have a covenant with Him. However, neither did Yeshua say that we would have it easy: ‘Sufficient for the day is its own trouble’.
Rav Shaul tells us that one of the issues afflicting the community of Israel in the desert was that of ‘murmurers’ or complainers. Our portion today recalls that the Lord heard it all. He hears everything. The people were beginning to blame God for the situation they found themselves in. The Torah is quick to record that God’s anger is stirred particularly quickly against the one who would challenge His sovereignty over our lives in this way.
People like to complain; it’s an innate ability in all of us – if we don’t like something we complain and whinge. Rav Shaul, on the other hand, tells us in Philippians 2:14 to stop grumbling and disputing. Why? Because God is in total control of our lives; He is our provider and meets all our needs, even in the desert! Job said in Job 13:15a:’ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him’ – not a fatalism of human passivity but a deep sense that even when everything had been taken from him – including his health – his confidence in God was absolute.
Complaining is only one way to respond to situations in our lives. Yeshua said in John 16:33 that in this world we will always have tsouris, or trouble. It’s our response that matters. Moshe shows us another way to respond; how does he handle trouble?
- He spoke to God first (11:11)
- He was aware of his own shortcomings and was willing to see God’s will come first, even if that meant his own death (v.14-15)
- He was willing to bring in others to help with the work.
- He did not try to self-justify or defend himself in the face of difficulty or trouble. He knew that by trusting God, His will would prevail (v.23). He approached issues with gentleness and mercy first, even in the face of God’s discipline with them (12:11-13)
- He had a genuine deep walk with God. Knowing God, not just knowing about Him, is the key to surviving the trials of life.
- He made decisions based on what he KNEW to be true, rather than on false emotions or feelings or gossip that could lead him astray.
- Finally, he had deep humility. (12:3) He saw God yet didn’t boast. Before God can use you, He will test your humility; He needs to know that you are able to be used and not let it go to your head. Moshe was the servant of God, he was not self-serving. Just seeing yourself as a servant will ease you through the difficulties that come your way because you won’t forever be fighting for your ‘rights’.
God is our refuge in times of trouble, we can learn from the way Moshe dealt with this, a mere mortal like us!
Shabbat Beha’alotcha (When you set up)