on motherhood, moses, and manna

Ahhh motherhood.  You beautiful, terrible thing.  In this week after mother’s day, in the aftermath of the heart emojis, the potted plants gifted, and the manicures procured, I ask you, can I be honest?

I have found myself in the possession of many childrens, all mine, and I’ve found that I am, in a word, overwhelmed.  Where does this take me, but to the ever relatable book of Numbers?

I’ll catch you up.  Moses.  Red sea parted.  Isrealites victoriously delivered from slavery!  Whitney Houston’s “There Will Be Miracles!”

Then, Desert.  More Desert.  America’s “Horse with No Name.”  Manna.  More Manna.  Dang we could go for some meat.  Remember when we were slaves?  At least we had delicious meat.  Free and meatless sucks!  You didn’t say we’d have to go Vegan Moses.  We hate this.  And you.  And deliverance.

Moses responds to the Israelites demand for meat in Numbers 11:13-15.

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.”

Do you hear what Moses is saying here?  He’s saying it’s too hard.  The people that God has sovereignly appointed for Moses to shepherd, He is saying he is ill equipped handle all these people.  Me too Moses, as am I.  I too cannot handle all of the people God entrusted to me.  And I would be lying to you friends if I told you I have not laid face down on the bed after confronting disobedience in 3/4 of my children simultaneously and not wished for death.  And am I longing for actual death?  No.  But I crave peace- the glorious peace that comes from being with Jesus, in a place where there is no malice, impatience, or the ever present weakness in my pelvic floor that causes me to slouch, and sometimes google “uterine prolapse.”  So, we’ve established.  Moses = #sorelatable for overwhelmed mothers.  I feel like I could even argue that I might be getting a beard started.  So what now?  Moses was surrounded by such intense whining that wished for death.  Then what?  I’ve found that when I am longing for the Lord to talk to me, that I should just keep reading.  So… I kept reading.

Numbers 11:16-17

The Lord said to Moses: “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.

I feel pretty certain that in my particular situation I will not receive the gift of 70 wise elders to help.  But I do feel certain that God will send help, I do not carry this burden alone.  Isaiah 30 says that the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.

I notice 2 things about Moses here.  And 2 things about God.  Moses was honest about what was going on in his heart and he also sought God out to pray in that sincerity.  He offered up himself, in weakness.  God blesses the poor in spirit.  God heard Moses and He answered, but not in a way that Moses imagined or asked for.  Moses, in his infinite wisdom (eye roll emoji) said “Go ahead and kill me.”  (I say eye roll emoji but this is self deprecation because I literally do things like that ALL THE DANG TIME)  God in His infinite wisdom (no eye roll emoji) gave him what he needed to carry on.  Fellowship, help, a burden shared.  I think that you will find that if you reflect on the prayers of your heart- prayers that share your loneliness, your irritability, your anxiety and your pain, in these places the Lord is happy to meet you.  And not only meet you but deliver you.  Moses stood the mediator for God’s people.  He saw God as close as any man could.  But in the end, he sinned and a just God could not let him enter into the promised land.  Moses was just a man.  Time Keller says that “Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.”

What is this new covenant?  Here is a taste via Jeremiah 31

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jesus is the sacrifice that makes this new covenant possible.  Jesus is the one who bears our burdens with us.  He who promised is faithful.  He will sustain you.  He will give you what you need, but not necessarily what you want or more appropriately what you thought you needed.  And this is a good thing.  Because- have you ever met a 4 year old girl?  I have.  Mine cut half a head of hair off because she wanted to.  She thought she was smart.  But it was not smart to get scissors and cut off her hair.  She could have asked and I would’ve given her some guidance.  In this example the girl was us and the parent was God.  Did you get that?  Was it obvious?

On manna and meat days remember, you do not have to bear your burden alone.

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