Carrying the Burden

Being a leader is a huge responsibility. There are good days and bad days. Days of great reward and days of great struggle. When the organization succeeds, we celebrate. When it fails, we feel the weight of the responsibility. In the times of struggle it is easy to feel like we alone bear the burden. In Numbers 11, that is how Moses was feeling. Let me set the stage for you.

God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, he provided leaders for them, he provided food for them, and he even instructed them to build a structure – the tabernacle – that would make a way for him to dwell among his people. God was abundant in his goodness towards the Israelites; yet, despite that, they were professionals when it came to being an ungrateful and complaining people. They began to grow tired of the food that God was providing for them and they remembered what food they had available to them while in Egypt. They said…

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

Okay, so, the food in Egypt was available at no cost….mmm…they might not have had to pay for it, they just had to be slaves. And if the Pharaoh decided he wanted to kill all new born Israelite males then he could do that. So, none of that sounds like a good set up.

Quick side thought, do you ever find that you complain about God’s abundant goodness and blessing in your life? 

Nonetheless, the Israelites complained. It was in this moment that Moses, more than ever, felt burdened to be able to step up and lead the people God called him to lead. But there was a problem. Moses felt like his knees were buckling under the weight of leading these immature infants on his own. He turned to God and asked…

“Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

Moses was at the end of his ropes and he let God know it. So, the Lord responds to Moses by saying…

“Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

One of the most beautifully amazing things about God is that he hears us and he cares for us. He does not want to set us up for failure. If we need help he is all to willing to reach out and lend a hand. So, when Moses was in need and overwhelmed he cried out to God and God answered by providing Moses with other people that would share in the burden of the people so that he would not have to carry it alone.

In your own life, if you ever come to a point where you feel like you are under too much pressure, have too much responsibility, or feel like you are a one man football team then know this: God. Provides. When Moses felt overwhelmed by having to lead the Israelites he turned to God and said, “I can’t do this on my own.” We can do the same. We can turn to God and say, “Lord, I can’t do this on my own. I need help.” And he will help. One of the most powerful ways that God helps us is by calling other people to be there for us. Think about how God freed the Israelites from slavery. He called Moses. When Moses was overwhelmed he called seventy other people to help carry the weight.

So, today, consider this. If you need help maybe God has placed someone in your life that is there to share in carrying the weight of the burden with you, or maybe God is calling you to help carry someone else’s burdens.

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