Ep.024: Moses Says, “I Quit!”

Hi, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me.”

After Moses led the Israelite slaves out of Egypt, they received the 10 commandments at Mt. Sinai. Then they began a journey through the desert to the promised land. Water was scarce and their only food was manna, a  seed-like substance that had to be cooked into cereal or ground into flour to make bread.

The people quickly grew tired of this diet and started complaining to Moses. “We’ve lost our appetite. All we get is this manna. What’s the problem here? How about something with flavor, like the fish and cucumbers and leeks and onions we had in Egypt?”

The people’s complaining angered Moses. He was annoyed with his job as their leader. Since it was God who  hired him as Chief Executive Officer and Project Manager for the trek through the desert, Moses made an appointment with God, and said to him:

“‘Why have you brought this trouble on your servant?
 What did I do wrong to deserve this burden?”
 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth?
 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’
 I can’t carry all these people alone. The burden is too heavy for me.
 If this is how you are going to treat me, do me a favor and kill me right now.” (Numbers 10:11-15)

Some prayer that. “If this is how you treat me, do me a favor and kill me right now.”  When I attended Sunday School, they didn’t use this story as a model for how to pray.

Note that Moses was doing the same thing as his people– he was complaining. They were complaining about food and Moses was complaining his job. God had promised the Israelite ancestors that he would give them the promised land. But after God’s sales pitch about the amazing future, guess who got stuck leading the impossible project? Moses, who complained to God, “You promised them the world, but all I get is a bunch of losers with unreasonable expectations, endless complaints, and zero initiative. I can’t do anything with this riffraff. I’m overworked and underappreciated and I’ve had enough!” Do you ever feel like that about your job? Does your boss think of you as unmanageable, complaining riffraff? Are your colleagues all impossible losers?

God, to his credit, didn’t start an argument with Moses. He didn’t give him a lecture about complaining. He didn’t send him on a project management course or a course on how to deal with difficult people. He didn’t suggest a new methodology like “Agile Leadership”. Instead, he quietly listened to Moses’ complaints, and he took two steps to address the underlying problems. God put his spirit on 70 elders to help Moses lead the people. And he sent a flock of migrating quails to provide meat to go with the manna.

Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, we too are on a journey to the land you promised. But sometimes you seem to lead us the long way around. You didn’t warn us about the restricted diet and the difficult working conditions and the complaining people we get to travel with. Give us wisdom and leadership and courage to continue.  Amen.

I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.

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