I readily admit that I can easily suffer from discouragement. It sometimes seems that life’s problems just continue to rise up without resolution. Like flooding rivers, we can put up temporary barriers to keep the water at bay, but at times they seem to threaten to overflow and break down these temporary dams.
Sometimes, I really just don’t know what to do. I’m not perfect, but I do study my Bible. Sometimes after an exhausting day, it is tempting to skip on prayer, but I force myself to at least say “Good night” to my Heavenly Father. Do I not have God’s Spirit dwelling in me? Why then do I seem to have difficulty discerning what to do or where to go?
Moses was a man of great faith. God spoke to him face-to-face like a friend (Ex 33:11). Yet, there were times he did not know what to do.
When Moses led Israel to the Red Sea, Pharaoh thought he saw his opportunity and went after them. The Children of Israel were understandably afraid. They let that fear turn into panic, though. Moses response was to tell them to “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD”(Ex 14:13). However, was that the correct response?
And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
Did you catch that? Moses said to “stand still”, but God said to “go forward”! This looks like a clear case that Moses expected God to do it all, but God had something else in mind. The people had to go forward on faith. Sometimes, we can expect God to do it all, but we forget we have our part to do as well.
The next example shows Moses learned the lesson. However, did he learn it too well? Did he take too much of the responsibility upon his shoulders?
Moses became discouraged at times. In Numbers 11:14-15, he asks for God to take his life because of the stress of leadership. While it is conjecture, this passage makes it seem as though it could just be that Moses expected too much from himself.
God tells Moses to select 70 elders to take some of the strain off of Moses. Then, he tells Moses that the people will eat meat for an entire month. They will eat so much meat that it will “come out at your nostrils” (v20). Moses response is interesting:
And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month.
Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?
And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD’S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.
~ Nu 11:21-23
Now, Moses seems to be asking, ‘How am I supposed to feed all of these people?” This event took place one year after they had left Egypt (Nu 9:1-4), so Moses had already done quite a few things. He struck a rock, and water came out (Ex 17:1-7). When Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed in battle, and when he let down his hands, Amalek prevailed (vv8-11). Moses was used to doing.
Yet, God wasn’t telling Moses to do anything. Moses assumed it.
If Moses didn’t know what to do sometimes, why should I be overly critical of myself when I don’t know what to do at times?