Friday, May 1, 2020

The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short?” –Numbers 11:23

Sometimes Scripture invites us to think about God in bodily terms. We read about God’s eyes, God’s ears, God’s hands and feet.

Today’s verse asks us to think about God’s arm.

In Numbers 11, the Israelites have been wandering in the desert and they’ve become tired of the provision of manna the Lord has been sending for them to eat. They demand meat, and the Lord tells Moses he’ll provide it (more than they want, in fact). Moses is skeptical. He says, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?”

And – I love this – God throws a question right back at Moses: “Is the LORD’s arm too short?”

It’s like God is saying, “Excuse me, Moses, I’m gonna to stop you right there. Do you know who I am? You still think there are limits on what I can do?” See, Moses has made the error I think we all make – Moses has forgotten just how big God is, how complete God is. Moses has already lost sight of the miraculous things he’s seen God do. I do this, too. Moses needed – and we need – the reminder that the Lord’s arm span is wide. His reach is far.

In fact, I’d argue that when we worry that there isn’t enough of something to go around, it’s usually the length of our own arms we ought to scrutinize. Where do I hold my blessings so close that no one else can enjoy them? Where does God’s provision get bottlenecked? Am I helping to make sure that everyone gets enough of what they need? When it comes to reaching out and serving people, am I stretching my arms out as wide as I can?

We serve a God of generous abundance. And God invites us to participate with him in reaching his world. When Jesus fed a whole crowd with just a few loaves of bread and some fish, he made the disciples part of the process. He handed them the food so they could share it with the hungry people around them. God also invites us to be part of the process. God’s arm is not short. God’s capacity to provide is not limited. God’s love is not just for an inside crowd. So, with confidence in our limitless God, may we extend our own arms to share God’s provision more freely with the world God loves.

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