“The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.””
The context for this verse is another time of judgement for the people of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness. No matter how faithful God was to them they were constantly complaining and asking for greater blessings from God. Finally Moses had had enough of their complaining. He gets to the point where his mental and physical exhaustion overwhelm him and he begins to complain to the LORD. He can no longer carry them. It may very well be that this is in fact the place that God wanted to lead Moses. He needed to recognise that the work was not his alone. He needed simply to be obedient to his God. God would carry the people Himself, as He had been doing right from the beginning. The people wanted meat; they were tired of the manna that God was providing for them.
God tells Moses that He is about to provide meat for the people and Moses responds as if such a provision was incredible. Notice what Moses says to God, see if it sounds like something you or I might say, or think. “Here am I 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?” (Numbers 11:21-22) God makes a promise through Moses to the people and Moses responds to it by thinking that he must find the provisions that God has promised all on his own. It sounds like the disciples when Jesus tells them that He is about to feed a huge crowd with a few loaves and fishes. Where were they going to find the food? Our default response to God’s promises always seems to be that we think the burden of getting it done falls on us.
Where was Moses’ faith, or the disciple’s? Where is our faith? Do we believe that the God who calls us to serve Him will provide the resources that we need to accomplish His will? That is the issue that this text confronts us with. Taking it deeper this text confronts us with all of the ways that we are unbelieving when it comes to God’s calling upon our lives. The life of faith is too hard for us, we say. It scares us because it robs us of all of those things that we put our security in. We are really much more comfortable finding our own way. Except, that there will come a day when we will have to give account to God for our unbelief.
George Muller wrote in his autobiography that he lived his life and conducted his ministry in such a way as to show the Christian Church that it is possible, in fact necessary for us to live by faith. Here is how Muller describes it. “Some individuals are in professions which they cannot continue with a good conscience. But they fear leaving their profession lest they become unemployed. I long to strengthen their faith by proving that the promises from the Word of God of His willingness to help all those who rely on Him are true. I know that the Word of God ought to be enough. But by giving my brothers visible proof of the unchangeable faithfulness of the LORD, I might be able to strengthen their faith. I want to be a servant of the Church in the particular point on which I had obtained mercy – in being able to take god at His Word and rely on it. This seems to me to be best done by establishing an orphan house – something which could be seen with the natural eye. If I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith obtained, without asking any individual, the finances for establishing and carrying on an orphan house, this might strengthen the faith of the children of God. It might also be a testimony to the unconverted of the reality of the things of God.” The Autobiography of George Muller (1984 Whitaker House)
That is exactly what Muller did over a long and productive ministry. He demonstrated that any Church, Ministry or life can be conducted according to principles that are by faith in the power of God. God will always demonstrate Himself to be faithful to His promises.