I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. NIV
This morning, as I went upstairs to find my Project Bible, it occurred to me that having a “heavy heart” is a synonym for worry. So, I grabbed my NIV concordance and looked up the word, “heavy.” This verse was very near the top of that list.
I’m back in the story of Moses. He already has lead the people out of Egypt. At this point, while Moses does not say his heart is heavy, a heavy burden is clearly worrying and upsetting him. In the prior verses (10b-13), he complains to God. “Moses was troubled. 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? 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 forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, “Give us meat to eat!” ‘ “NIV
He is so stressed out that he nearly gives up. In verse 15, he says to God, “If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now.” NIV
How many times have we felt this way? We take on a task. The task seems doable, and the goal seems worthy. But, as we get into it, as we peel back the layers of what is to be done, the task is more complex than originally anticipated … the goal sometimes becoming frustratingly unattainable.
God’s answer is brilliant. Of course, He’s God. He tells Moses to share the burden. He directs that 70 people be brought to the tent of meeting.
Moses has been carrying this burden alone. When he tells God that it is too much, God spreads the burden broadly. He chose 70 people to do the work that one man had been carrying alone. If I have my math right, that’s a 7,000 percent increase.
There’s a lot that we can learn here. Goals, no matter how worthy, are hard to achieve … sometimes unachievable. People and their various points of view can complicate matters exponentially. Big burdens are not to be borne by a small percentage of God’s family, but rather by a number proportionate to the task.
That’s what I’ll think about today.