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A Mighty Hand

“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Is the LORD’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not’” (Numbers 11:23).

The people of Israel are famous for their complaining. All throughout their journey from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan, they complain about the lack of food, the lack of water, the long journey, their leaders… If it’s possible to complain about something, they’re doing it. Though they have seen the LORD do wonder after incredible wonder, they still focus only on their hardships. Finally, God decides He’s had enough. He will give them the meat they’re whining for: not for one day, not for ten days, not even for twenty days, but for a whole month. At the end of that time, they will be so sick of meat that they will regret ever begging for it.

Practical Moses sees a flaw in this plan. They are in the middle of the wilderness, he reminds God, and even if they were to slaughter every one of their livestock, it would still fall short of feeding the entire multitude. Where does God expect to find enough meat to feed them all for a full thirty days?

God, however, is not limited by finite issues. He asks Moses a simple yet profound question: “Is the LORD’s hand shortened?” Would the God who destroyed Egypt and brought His people through the Red Sea on dry land really have trouble providing those same people with food? He proves His words when He causes a great wind to bring reams of quail close to the camp. The people eat of that quail for a month. But mixed with the blessing is a curse: many people fall sick and die as punishment for their doubts against God.

God likes to do the impossible. He always brings us into places where we cannot provide for ourselves and where we must look to Him for what we need. Our finite human minds can’t comprehend how He will do such a thing, but He always acts according to His word. His hand is not shortened; His power has in no way diminished. He is God, and He will do what He has promised.

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