Football season is well underway, and after a year of COVID closures, college games are back in full swing. The coach from my Alma Mater made an interesting comment after the first game of the season. We beat a team that was ranked higher than ours and was expected to win. All of the pundits had called the game for the other team, yet our team pulled off an upset. The coach gave credit to all the fans. He stated that the level of audible and visible support for the team that came from the stands made all the difference. The cliche for this is ”teamwork makes the dream work.” Like most cliches, it is true.
In our passage from the book of Numbers today, we see Moses hitting a wall of oncoming linebackers and feeling overwhelmed, defenseless, and alone. But God reminded him that he, too, was surrounded by a team, even in the bleak desert of nothingness:
Numbers 2 (The Message)
10 Moses heard the whining, all those families whining in front of their tents. God’s anger blazed up. Moses saw that things were in a bad way.
11-15 Moses said to God, “Why are you treating me this way? What did I ever do to you to deserve this? Did I conceive them? Was I their mother? So why dump the responsibility of this people on me? Why tell me to carry them around like a nursing mother, carry them all the way to the land you promised to their ancestors? Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people who are whining to me, ‘Give us meat; we want meat.’ I can’t do this by myself—it’s too much, all these people. If this is how you intend to treat me, do me a favor and kill me. I’ve seen enough; I’ve had enough. Let me out of here.”
Have you ever been so frustrated, exhausted, and overwhelmed that you wanted to just run away? I know I have. Sometimes work, home, illness, family, the pandemic, and even the larger political system that we all living under can suddenly overwhelm us to the point of paralysis. We can find ourselves so tired of it all we just want to drop the ball and walk off the field. Luckily for Moses, God had another play to call from his playbook:
16-17 God said to Moses, “Gather together seventy men from among the leaders of Israel, men whom you know to be respected and responsible. Take them to the Tent of Meeting. I’ll meet you there. I’ll come down and speak with you. I’ll take some of the Spirit that is on you and place it on them; they’ll then be able to take some of the load of this people—you won’t have to carry the whole thing alone.
You won’t have to carry the whole thing alone.
This burden of responsibility, this grief, this tragedy, this unexpected death of a loved one, this failed marriage, this out-of-control teenager, this job loss….YOU WON’T HAVE TO CARRY THE WHOLE THING ALONE. Can you find comfort in those words today?
24-25 So Moses went out and told the people what God had said. He called together seventy of the leaders and had them stand around the Tent. God came down in a cloud and spoke to Moses and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy leaders. When the Spirit rested on them they prophesied. But they didn’t continue; it was a onetime event.
26 Meanwhile two men, Eldad and Medad, had stayed in the camp. They were listed as leaders but they didn’t leave camp to go to the Tent. Still, the Spirit also rested on them and they prophesied in the camp.
God came to Moses’ aid and provided other people to carry the load with him. This is a good lesson for those of us who think that we are indispensable. Guess what? We’re not.
27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!”
28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ right-hand man since his youth, said, “Moses, master! Stop them!”
29 But Moses said, “Are you jealous for me? Would that all God’s people were prophets. Would that God would put his Spirit on all of them.”
This is a great reminder today that God provides others to step alongside of you and help. When the burden of life becomes too great, LOOK AROUND. There are helpers everywhere. Ask God to rest his spirit on someone who can truly take a load from your shoulders and carry it with you. And when he does, let go. That might be the hardest part…letting go of control and allowing someone else to share a problem…but when you do, God is there.
What do you need to let go of today? Trust God, for he is able.