Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 14, 2010

where’s the beef?

As I view the journey wanderings of the children of Israel, I am less than impressed. But as I correspondingly view my own journey adventures, I am left asking myself the same question that I might have asked of them.  “How do you (I) so easily get distracted from God’s grace and miss the beauty of His miracles?” You may view the Israelites and yourself in much the same vein. A recent reading of Numbers chapter 11, gave me an instructive picture of whining, as well as Moses and God.

God gave His children manna, but that was not good enough. Complaining begins, and there is a cry for meat to eat. “But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (v6) God removes them from the bondage of Egypt and provides for them, but they want meat, not manna. My first thought is, “are you kidding me?”  But then, I quickly feel compelled to look at our twenty-first century responses to God’s provision and care, before I rush to judge my brothers and sisters. We may not be complaining about manna and meat, but most Christ followers do struggle at some level with what God has provided vs. our own wants.

Moses, the great leader, is at his wit’s end. He is weighted by a burden He cannot carry by himself, and lets the Father know.

Numbers 11:13-15
“Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now-if I have found favor in your eyes-and do not let me face my own ruin.”

Listen closely to Moses’ cry to God, as he feels nearly crushed by the weight of his burden.  Do you ever have that feeling? Moses was certainly God honoring, but he was also very human. And in his desperate moment, God came through. Careful reading of Numbers chapter 11, shows how God took the Holy Spirit that was on Moses and put that same Spirit on the seventy elders so that he would not have to carry the burden alone. God is never limited by our weaknesses, and he hears our cries.

And what about the meat? God answered, and blew in quail.  But at the same time, struck the children of Israel with a severe plague. Their craving was costly.

So what can we learn from the whining, from Moses, and about God?  First and foremost, The Father is a provider.  An all-knowing, loving provider. Enjoy His manna, and let Him worry about when it’s the right time to bring us meat. Moses showed his weakness and God provided him with direction and help in his time of need. God is patient. Embrace your weakness, and trust Him for direction. We are also reminded that God is holy and just and will discipline us when needed. Never being satisfied, is as ugly today as it was on the Israelite journey.

We can’t re-do yesterday, but praise God, it ended at midnight.


  1. when I read the same chapter –Numbers 11, I almost fell out of my chair — Mike your Word has always helped put these daily/weekly readings into current day perspective. Thanks for all you are doing

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