Loneliness and knowing G-d
Torah Portion: Becha’alotcha (When You Set Up) B’midbar (Numbers) 8:1-12:16
Haftorah Readings: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
Tonight, we read the Torah portion that speaks of the Israelites celebrating their first Passover after leaving Egypt. They are about to begin the second part of their journey. No longer are they escaping from Egypt, they are going toward the Promised Land.
First, I would like us to look at Numbers 11:1-3 where we find the people complaining and then in Numbers 11:4-6 we read what they had to say to Moshe about their view of their situation. They were bemoaning their lack of food. They described in detail all the delicious food they had in Egypt such as, fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks and their list goes on. Somehow they had forgotten they had been slaves, oppressed and their children were being killed. So their recollection of all that food being free was wrong. They paid a great price for anything they had in Egypt.
Closely following in Numbers 11:11-15 we read Moshe’s reaction to this group of complaining people. What do you think prompted Moshe to cry out to G-d in such desperation? No doubt he felt the loneliness of having no one to share his burden of leading the children of Israel. As we read the scriptures we see this same situation play out in other people’s lives. People, who like Moshe, came to the point of praying to die. People like Elijah after Jezebel issued a warrant for his arrest. We see Jeremiah come to this same place in Jeremiah 20:14-18. Probably one of the most glaring example we can find in the Hebrew scripture would be King David in Psalms 6:6, 13:1-2, Psalms 22:2 and Psalms 130:1. Loneliness is very hard for any of us to endure. I think, especially now, in our world, all of us have to confront this issue personally.
It is important for all of us to remember the examples of these men’s lives. They never lost faith, even though sometimes it was stretched almost to a breaking point. As we now have to deal with a new reality in our world it is giving us a new opportunity. We have time to devote to study, prayer and using these days to draw closer to the Father. The urge is to fill the space with busy things. Since the virus began Lowes have been doing more business than I have ever seen. People trying to fill their days with activity, any activity. I want to urge us all to use this time to come closer to the Father, to search for His direction for us in the chaotic world we are living in.
In these examples from scripture we see men in their loneliness crying out to G-d. G-d answered them. He did not necessarily make their lives easier but He did show them they were not alone. The events going on around us are not just “the times,” but for some reason G-d Almighty is allowing our world to be shaken. We are called on to stand, to seek Him and He will answer. We are to wait on the L-rd. He has an answer for each of us.
This brings me to my last point. In Numbers 9:8 we read this verse, “And Moshe said to them, “Wait and let me hear what the L-rd will command you.” First, a little explanation, the time for the first Passover celebration was at hand. A group of men came to Moshe telling him they were ritually unclean and could not celebrate the Passover with the rest of Israel. Their problem was, they did not want to miss out on the celebrating of Passover.
So, Moshe told them to wait and he would see what G-d commanded.
This gives us an important lesson. Wait on the L-rd, wait and hear what G-d’s will is for you before acting on some important question or decision you may have before you. Is this easy? We are in an instant gratification world. Everything is going at fast forward. Who has time to wait?
One of the verbs used in our verse for wait is “Amdu” Amdu can mean stand, wait or endure. These men were meant to wait as long as it took with no time limit. Most of the examples we read in scripture were met quickly. Here Moshe went to inquire of G-d and in verse 9 G-d answered immediately. However, in Jeremiah 42:1-3, 7-9 we see a delayed response to G-d’s answer. The people waited. They did not act until they knew G-d’s will. In Psalms 27:14 we read, “Wait for the L-rd, Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the L-rd.” Micah 7:7 has the same thought, “wait.” In the Messianic scriptures we see this principle expressed in Luke 2:25-26 where Simeon was waiting to see the Messiah after being promised he would see Him before Simeon’s death. In Acts 1:4-6 Yeshua also told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for what G-d had promised.
How does this impact us today? It should call us to wait on the L-rd. When we face uncertainty it is so important to be patient. In the big and little things of life we must be able to say with confidence, as Moshe said, “Wait until I hear from the L-rd.”
The encouraging promise for those who wait on the L-rd is found in Isaiah 40:31. “They that wait upon the L-rd shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings of eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.”