Numbers 11

“Ahh, let ‘em wait. As soon as I go back on duty, it’s just gonna be the same old thing. Complain about this. Whine about that. We want meat. We don’t have enough meat. Crab. Crab. Crab. You understand me though, don’t ya little fella?”

Moses might be mighty disgusted with the grumbling of the people, which is a well-known and heavily accented aspect of the exodus narrative, but–let’s face it–Moses is pretty whiny himself. Maybe we want to be sympathetic and understanding in regard to Moses’ plight. But then, don’t we owe the same understanding to the people, too?

Another perspective on the moanings and groanings of the Israelites is suggested in the handling of a similar situation by Jesus. The famous feeding of the 5,000 story from the gospel is an intriguing parallel, in which Jesus views the grumbly-tummied folks as “sheep without a shepherd.” He feeds them graciously, without lament for the personal inconvenience. The part that the disciples play in this story is even very suggestive of and reminiscent of the role of Moses, who belly-aches, “How am I supposed to feed all of these people?” The disciples likewise ask Jesus, after our Lord suggests that they provide for the people, “Where are we to get enough food for all of these?”

©2020 Joel Picard

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