Did you ever watch the “Prince of Egypt” growing up? Growing up, my sisters and I would listen to the soundtrack of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, while mouthing the words to the famous song “When you believe.”
Our favorite scene was the splitting of the Red Sea. To any child, to see waters split like magic, never got old. I wanted to serve this kind of God. At the time, I thought the story ended there. I honestly thought that Moses and the Israelites lived happily ever after. But...such is life. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered that Pharaoh and the Red Sea were only the beginnings of several trials that Moses later faced.
If you don’t know the story, Moses led an entire nation (who was enslaved for more than 400 years) away from the grips of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The Lord promised the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey. However, obtaining that land would not come without its’ challenges. Well, in the midst of some of these challenges, the Israelites began to complain. Miraculously, the Lord provided food from the heavens (I wonder what that bread must’ve tasted like) every single day. But the Israelites started to want some meat. So much so, that the Israelites questioned why they even left Egypt in the first place. Maybe slavery wasn’t so bad? (Shocker, right?) This was a direct affront to the Lord, who not only freed them, but also provided for them each and every day. Y’all, this was just one of several complaints that the Israelites made (read the book of Numbers).
Well, it got to a point that Moses prayed for death. In Numbers 11, the burden of caring for so many people with so many different complaints, led Moses to state the following: “I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”
Thankfully, the Lord didn’t answer that prayer. Instead, the Lord responded to Moses' prayer by stating 2 miracles that He would do instead.
The Lord would place His Spirit on 70 of the elders that Moses chose. (At the time, the Lord’s Spirit was only on Moses.) Numbers 11: 16 -17
The Lord would feed the 600,000 Israelites quail every single day for 1 Month Numbers 11: 18-20
2 miracles. But which of the two miracles do you think was harder for Moses to believe?
Numbers 11:21 But Moses said, “The people, among whom I am, are 600,000 on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, so that they may eat for a whole month.’ 22 Should flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to be sufficient for them? Or should all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to be sufficient for them?”
Why am I writing such a long blog post about Moses (kudos if you have made it this far in reading)? I think it’s because I see the humanness of Moses in me and in so many other Christians in today’s Christian culture. It’s easier for many to overlook spiritual miracles and rush towards doubting/questioning/becoming overly concerned with miracles that one can see with the eye. The ability for the Lord to place His Spirit upon 70 ordinary men is just as miraculous, if not more, than feeding quail to 600,000. One ought to see the miraculous work in both.
Instead of doubting or exciting oneself over the thought of God's Spirit dwelling in 70 ordinary men, Moses quickly turned his attention to God's ability to provide quail—something Moses could see with the eye. Why didn't he react in the same way upon hearing about God's spirit dwelling in 70 men?
You see this interesting tension play out thousands of years later when Jesus confronts a man who is paralyzed. When a paralytic comes to Jesus, the Lord immediately states to the paralytic man, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” Of course, there were doubters in the crowd who merely scoffed at this notion that Jesus could forgive sins. To which the Lord responded by stating, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” The people didn’t actually believe in the power of the Lord to spiritually forgive sins, until they physically saw Jesus heal this man of his paralysis.
So what does this all have to do with you and I?
How many times have we thanked the Lord or shared a testimony with others solely regarding physical miracles and ignored the spiritual miracles that the Lord is doing in and around us? You see, if we aren’t careful, we may miss out on so many opportunities to thank the Lord and testify to His power, due to overlooking the work of the Lord—simply because we cannot tangibly see it. In my experience, it's been more difficult to share with others regarding what the Lord is doing spiritually on my behalf due to the inevitable need to be more transparent. Recall that the Lord sent His Spirit upon 70 men, in response to Moses' prayer for death. How could Moses share the former without disclosing the latter as well. So many times in sharing what the Lord has done for me spiritually, I must acknowledge my weakness, brokeness, my fallenness, my NEED. Thus I resort to merely sharing what is easy and appropriately fitting for the physical realm..."My praise report is that I got 8 hours of sleep last night."
God’s ability to help you shut your mouth when you really want to curse someone out, or to respect your husband truly in your heart, or to treat your wife as one who is willing to lay down his life for her, or to forgive the unforgivable—these are all miracles from God. So the next time you have a praise report… be careful to not overlook the spiritual miracles that the Lord has done in your life in conjunction to the physical. That new job, or new condo, or new car, or high tax return is definitely something to praise God for. But let’s not overlook the fact that the ability to have peace, to see oneself become more like Christ, to see certain strongholds broken, to have angels swarm about you for protection in the middle of the night—also ought to be praised with just as much fervor! When we acknowledge the miracles of the spiritual, we see that it is nothing for God to bless in the physical. And it creates opportunity to see just how amazing God is and just how much we are in need of Him. Sometimes I think the Lord blesses in both realms just to kindly remind us that His power is not limited.
In the end, the Lord responded to Moses’ questions by stating the following:
23 The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”
PonderedThought: I encourage you this week to allow your prayers to extend to the physical and even beyond. Do you struggle with anxiety, fear, lustful thoughts, greed, jealousy, lack of love for the Lord, irritability, doubt of one's ability, or a greater love for man’s opinion than God’s? Pray for the impossible! Don’t just stop at what you can see—fewer bills, better grades, traveling mercy, etc. These things need to be prayed for...just don’t forget about the spiritual blessings as well! The Lord's power is not limited.