Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Only Human

This morning I found a laugh in an unlikely place. I was reading Numbers 11 and got a kick out of the humorous interaction between Moses and God. I'll paraphrase.

The Israelites are in the desert being led around by God by means of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. God has provided manna for them to eat - which they get simply by picking it up off the ground - not much work involved. Well, some of the people get this idea that they are tired of manna and want meat. I can understand wanting something else...I get tired of the same old after a while too. But of course, these folks complain to Moses saying things like, "Why did you take us from Egypt? We had meat there!" A bit over the line? They conveniently forgot they were also slaves in Egypt.

Here's where it gets entertaining. Moses turns to God and says, "Why did you stick me with these people? What did I do to deserve this? I can't take them anymore! They are killing me with their stupid complaining. Please give someone else to help me...or if not, just kill me. Really, if I have ever found favor with you, kill me now." God doesn't relieve Moses of his duties, but does appoint elders from the tribes to help deal with the complaining people.

Then God says "Okay, guys, you want meat. I'll give you meat. More meat than you can stand." (Reminiscent of the age-old parental comment "You're bored? Oh, I'll give you something to do.") Then Moses - the same Moses who God used to bring plagues into Egypt and part the Red Sea - says "Meat? How are you possibly going to get enough meat to feed all these people? I don't think it can be done." Moses, how quickly you forget.

I found this funny because Moses has seen God at work. He has witnessed more than his share of wonders and miracles. He has already sat with God on the mountain and asked God to show His face. But Moses was only human and I guess the stress of the job got to him. Ministry leaders need vacations, too. At this point he doesn't even want to intercede for the people. Throw them to the dogs, Lord, they're driving me crazy. Moses is focused on himself as he gets frustrated about his own comfort and frustration. And he forgets the fact that God has done much greater wonders than flying in some quail.

I got tickled. And then quickly looked in the mirror to remind myself I can be the same way. I'm glad this story is in the Bible to remind me that Moses wasn't divine or perfect. He was a man, a fallen, broken man. Yet still used by God. Jesus showed us what we can be when we live fully abiding in God. We can become fully human, fully who He created us to be. As I make my way from only human to fully human, it is good to be reminded that even after seeing that burning bush or spending 40 days on the mountain with God, I'll still be dependent on Him.

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