Are you a contented person? Willing to be satisfied with what you have without all the acquiring and manipulating? Or are you, like many of us, one who tries to fill the emptiness, hoping to get enough to be able to be content? What about when you are in those long, lean, tough times; are you able to be content then? Although I’ve walked with the Lord for years, I struggle to dwell contentedly when times are tough and I’m waiting for an answer from the Father.
This past week, a simple story about the Israelites, which we’ve all heard, brought me face to face with my lack of contentedness and lack of faith. Here’s the heart of the story from Numbers chapter 11.
Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. … 4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”…
1. The people complained. God miraculously supplied manna to feed them, but they got tired of it, griped, and looked back longingly to their days of captivity. Sounds like us, huh? Discontent with what we have we begin to gripe and look back to “the good ole days” which were really not that good.
10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the Lord, “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.”
2. Moses, their leader then begins to gripe about his job. Also sounds like us. “Lord, look at these people I work with. I’m fed up. I can’t do this. Just kill me Lord.”
16 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.
3. God intervenes. He provides 70 reliable men to help Moses so he does not have to bear the load alone. Father God will send us helpers to walk alongside us as well.
18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it.19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”
4. The funny interlude from the Lord – at least I think so! I can just hear God saying, “O, so you want meat to eat, do you? I’m gonna give you some meat. so much meat that you will be sick of it.” I’m glad He provides and teaches in kind but memorable ways!
21 But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 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?”
5. Moses doubts God. Where in the world was God going to get enough meat for 600,000 people for a month?! They were in a desert. … O wait! … God created all the food in the first place, so hmmm… I guess He could create meat out of nothing…
23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” …
6. “Is the Lord’s arm too short?” – my favorite line of our story. That’s a rhetorical question, and the answer is an implied, definite “No!” The Lord’s arm is totally capable of providing for these children of Israel, and it is also totally capable of providing for our every need today. Luke 1:37 says it this way, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
7. And as Paul Harvey would say, “Now for the rest of the story.”
31 Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. 32 All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. …
8. A wind from the Lord blew in quail from the sea. And not just a little. Quail piled up 1 yard deep for a days journey on each side of the camp. Hard to picture that, huh? I though at first maybe the size of a huge mall and its parking lot, but no, not nearly enough. The World Wide Web tells us that the average healthy person can walk 20-30 miles in 8 hours (a day’s journey would be at least that if not more). Don’t know where you live, but if you’re in the Birmingham, Alabama, area, that is basically from Leeds to Jasper with the midpoint representing the Israelite’s camp! All that area covered with quail a yard deep! Now that is provision, with a little bit of God’s humor, and a little bit of #theyllrememberthislesson.
Dear ladies, Our God is not only Our Creator, The Lover of Our Soul, Our Savior & Friend, but He is Provider of our every need. We can rest content in our Faithful Lord. He is faithful to us, will we operate in faith towards Him? Will we be content in Him come what may?
I don’t know what you are facing, but the Lord will provide for you! Don’t take my word for it. Take these scriptures to heart and walk forth in faith and contentment.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:1-4
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength…. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:11-13, 19
Content yourself! Have faith! Trust your Provider!