Kill Me at Once!

Moses had had it up to here.

The Israelites' continual complaining and rebellion and lack of faith had been a heavy burden. Now they were standing in front of their tents weeping. Why? Because the food they were eating was boring. "We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at" (Numbers 11:5-6).

They wanted to eat meat.

Moses was beside himself. No people had experienced God so near to them or had him provide so directly for them. God had humbled Pharaoh to the ground and walked them all through the Red Sea. His pillar was with them day and night. They were eating miracle bread every day, for God's sake (literally)! And now they are going to cry because they are bored with the menu?

God’s righteous anger burned around the edges of the camp. And the people responded with just more complaining to and about Moses.

All Moses had ever done was work hard trying to fulfill God’s call to care for and lead them. But all they ever seemed to want whenever things got hard was to find a new leader and return to Egyptian slavery.

So Moses prayed in exasperation, "If you are going to treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness" (Numbers 11:15). 

Numbers 11 is a reminder that spiritual leadership is hard work.

It is also a reminder that we too are tempted to quickly grumble over unfulfilled cravings, inconveniences, and difficulties in the face of God’s overwhelming grace.

At this moment is your pastor(s) more aware of your encouragement or your criticism? Are you more a cause of joy to him, or might you be tempting him to pray, “Kill me at once!”?

Hebrews 13:17 tells us, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Maybe this would be a good time to express gratitude for and encourage someone who is laboring hard to care for your soul.

Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith and serves as the President of Desiring God, which he and John Piper launched together in 1994. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.