“I am not able to carry the burden of all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me.” –Numbers 11:14
Moving has been tough. For the five months leading up to the actual move, I existed in survival/denial mode. My husband stayed in Ohio through the week and I relied on my amazing network of friends and family to help me keep my sanity. Through this time, friendships grew stronger as did my reliance on the community that surrounded me. Fast forward to the present, and I have been struggling with feelings of loneliness. My kids are having their own battles with adjustment. We have a new routine. I have really, really long days. The sun apparently doesn’t shine a lot on our part of Ohio, and even the gloominess just added to my burdens.
I have four different versions of Bible studies that I am currently working on. One of those is to re-read the Old Testament with new eyes, thanks to another study (Seamless). Last night I read Numbers 11:1-19, and it has really stayed with me. At this point in the Bible, we find Moses leading a group of approximately 2 million people – the Israelites. Moses felt unequipped for this job from the beginning. Moses questioned God and His decision to choose Moses as THE person to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. God’s plan prevailed, as it always will. So now we find Moses leading the disgruntled Israelites around the desert. Wandering the desert because of their lack of faith. By this time, the Israelites have seen God perform so many miracles: plagues, the killing of all firstborn male Egyptians, the parting of the Red Sea, the provision of manna… And here they are, wandering in the desert, complaining about the miraculous source of food God provided them. They miss meat. I can sympathize…I love my meat, too. The Bible tells us the manna tasted like “the taste of cakes baked with oil” (Numbers 11:7). So it wasn’t gross. It was in all likelihood delicious. But, it was all they had eaten for a while and they were sick of it. They forgot, yet again, that God provided for them and would provide for them all they NEED. But the Israelites WANTED meat, and started reminiscing about the good ol’ times in Egypt, living as slaves but at least they had “fish…cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic” (Numbers 11:5).
Moses becomes displeased and lets God know. This is one thing I love about Moses. His conversations with the Lord are so real. They aren’t pretty, poised verses. He tells God that he feels as though God is punishing him by laying “the burden of all this people” on him. He tells God straight up that he cannot carry this burden alone. In fact, he’d rather God just kill him right then and there. And God knows this. He knows Moses’ heart. He loved Moses and chose him. They had a special relationship in which God spoke to him often. I envision God and Moses as BFFs. They talked all the time. And because they talked all the time, and they had this great relationship, Moses felt comfortable laying out his raw, unpolished needs. And God listened, and responded. God told Moses, “I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone” (Numbers 11:17). Love it.
As I read this, God spoke to me about my burdens. He gave Moses the elders to help carry the burden; he gave me Jesus. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Because I place my faith in Jesus as my Savior, I can give up my burdens to him. When the burden is too heavy for me, Jesus will carry it. All I have to do is ask. How great is that? Here I have been trying to handle this on my own, when all along I have been equipped with Jesus. I would guess we all do this: carry our own burdens. Give it to Jesus. Find rest for your soul in the comfort of His love. I’m working on it myself, and already can feel the difference.