Moses stood among 600,000 foot soldiers. He knew the number because God had already commanded him to count all the able-bodied men among the Israelite tribes. He also knew no one could resolve their current complaint. Where on earth was Moses supposed to find enough meat—the one food everyone seemed to crave instead of manna—to feed such a hungry mass of people? He wanted to know. Moses was ready to quit his job
But God answered Moses’ question with one of his own: “Is the Lord’s arm too short?”
Moses couldn’t argue the implication. God, the One who had met Moses at the burning bush, had not failed him yet. Faithfully, He had led Moses through hostile territory, granting access to Pharaoh’s courts, demonstrating power on power in relentless plagues. He terrorized Egypt while keeping Israel safe, then delivered an entire nation, heaping up the Red Sea’s waters while Israel passed through untouched on dry land. Moses saw the pillars of cloud and fire stretch high into the sky. He had heard the boom and brilliance of God’s voice and presence, and witnessed both the awesome justice and kind compassion from the One who was still willing to reason with him.
The Lord’s arm had never been too short, nor was it then. Throughout the book of Numbers, God worked in minute detail, person by person, to prepare His people for the wilderness ahead. They had learned on the mountain what it meant to be with God. Now, in the desert, they would learn how to live alongside Him and each other as He planned their path to the Promised Land.
It wasn’t an easy journey. Disbelief, grumbling, jealousy, and disobedience dimmed their vision and destroyed their hope. Though God equipped each clan and tribe with special purpose and met every need as it arose, none but Joshua and Caleb believed God’s goodness would continue. For doubting His ability to deliver, God barred all but two from entering Canaan.
How long do you believe God’s arm to be? Will our lives be numbered among the many that complain and question God’s presence in life’s wilderness or will we be one of the few who focuses on God’s mighty power to save?