Jesus: The Greater Moses

The most beautiful thing to me about reading the Old Testament is seeing Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment God’s covenant with his people Israel.  This morning as I read Numbers 11, this couldn’t have been more clear.

The people of Israel are complaining that they do not have any meat to eat. They want to go back to Egypt again. It’s so bad, they are weeping. So Moses turns to the LORD and says,

“Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers?”

Moses, in his own way, complains to God that he is prophet over these people. Moses thinks he is a victim. But Jesus, the Greater Moses, joyfully welcomed this “burden” of loving God’s people.

In Luke 13:34, Jesus cried out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”  And in Matthew 11:28-29, he said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus says, “I will carry you like a nurse carries a nursing child. I will love you, even when you are unlovable. I will care for you. I will have compassion on you. I will give you mercy.”  He has done perfectly what Moses could not do — and at times did not want to do. O what a Savior he is!


What Manna Do You Need Today?

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp.  And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat. This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.'” And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat.
– Exodus 16:13-18

God provided everything the Israelites needed to survive.  He gave them meat, bread, and water.  Yet they still complained.  In Matthew 6, Jesus taught us to pray like this: “Our Father…give us this day our daily bread.”  I’m sure for all of you, you have what you need physically.  We have a home, food, and clothes.  If we have these, we will be content (1 Tim. 6:8).  Yet we still complain.

Though God wants to and does provide physical needs, when Jesus taught us how to pray, I think he meant primarily manna for the soul.  I would argue that if our soul is fed, then our external circumstances will not be worthy of complaints.  Christian, what manna do you need today from the Lord?  Do you need strength to enjoy him?  Do you need comfort during afflication?  Do you need conviction for a habitual sin?  Do you need love for an enemy?  Do you need patience in trial?  Do you need thankfulness in bad circumstances?  Do you need courage in the face of death?

I know that I need these today — and daily.  I’m willing to bet that you do as well.  Go to your heavenly Father for your bread today.  He is more than willing to give it.

Life Theology

Idolatry and Grumbling Are More Closely Related Than You Might Think

In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul warns his Christian readers to not be idolaters (v. 7) and not to grumble (v. 10) in the same breath.  At first glance, these probably don’t seem like related sins.  But if we zoom in on the context, Paul is clear: you grumble because you are an idolater.

The story of the Israelites, Paul says, was written for us as an example (vv. 6, 11).  The Israelites did little right as they made their way through the wilderness.  Their perspective was limited.  Their hearts were not inclined toward God.  They constantly looked to creation instead of Creator — which is, in essence, idolatry.  Instead of looking to their future Messiah, they participated in pagan festivals (Ex. 32:6).  Instead of seeking pleasure in God, they sought pleasure in sexual relationships with Gentile women (Num. 25:1, 9).  Instead of looking to Christ as their sustenance, they complained about the manna and lack of water (Num. 21:5).  Instead of praising God for being delivered from slavery, they grumbled about wandering around in the desert (Num. 14:2).

Created things were never meant to satisfy our hearts and longings.  Created things, from the beginning, were meant to point us toward the Creator, who gives us life, breath, and everything (Acts 17:25).  If we worship idols (anything other than God), we will always grumble because they will always let us down.  Whether that idol is a sexual partner, food or drink, the American dream, or anything else you can think of, it will let you down.  And when you get let down, you will grumble.  I see it in my life — even in the smallest details.  When I put my hope in people, I get let down.  When I put my hope in organization or situations running smoothly, I get let down.  When I put my hope in my own merits and talents, I get let down.  When I put my hope in anything other than the person and work of Jesus, I am disappointed.  But praise be to God that Jesus will never let us be disappointed (Rom. 10:11).

Let’s look to Jesus.  If we do, our perspective will change.  We will be able to honestly rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in every circumstance (1 Thes. 5:16-18).  If we seek Christ, our hearts will find true satisfaction.  Creation was never meant to provide that.

Truly our hearts are restless until they rest in You.
– Augustine