University Blog

The Long Arms of God

Posted by Ben Trammell on

The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”
God to Moses (and me…and maybe you too) from Numbers 11:23


Having been hounded by fellow travelers on many road trips about whether our destination had somehow secretly arrived and I had concealed it, I confess I have often turned to sarcasm in response to questions like “are we there yet?” Sometimes I answer “yes” and enjoy the backseat occupants looking around and declaring, “no we aren’t.” To which I feign surprise and exclaim, “Goodness you are right, how did you know?” Generally in giggles, though the humor is sometimes lost on them, the response comes back in some form of “Because it doesn’t look like there.”

“This doesn’t look like there…”

I do not know if Moses got sarcastic on the long journey to the promise land but scripture tells us he wanted to give up. The Exodus out of Egypt was not a direct or simple journey. There were many wrong turns, there was abundant whining, and Moses asked God at one point what he had done to make God so angry with him as to assign him this community of people to lead. Moses goes so far as to petition God to do him a favor and just end his life as a way to escape the burden of the people he was leading. So I think it’s safe to assume Moses was tired of being asked “are we there yet…”, “is there anything besides this miraculous manna falling from heaven to eat?” and “why don’t you take us back to Egypt where it was better than this…” God tells Moses to gather 70 leaders from the community to share the burden of the journey with Moses.

God has heard the complaints about the food and is sending meat (so much they will grow sick of eating it) and Moses is to let the people know. Moses objects pointing out how many people are in the community and how much meat it would take to feed them once much less for a month.

“The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short?”

Here we are on our own long and unexpected journey. It is hard, confusing, and longer than we expected or wanted. We may, like Moses, be tempted to despair. We may be carrying burdens that are too much for us. We may want to go back to where or when we came from. Maybe it isn’t manna we grow tired of but we have eaten to much worry as daily bread.

We may even ask: “Are we there yet…?”

Well, if we look around we will see it doesn’t look like there whether we mean ‘normal life’ or the promise land. But if we have to walk this road then normal doesn’t seem like a worthy destination to set for. I want to go where God promises is the land on which we walk and the air that fills our lungs. 

It may seem like too much and too far to go.

“Is the Lord’s arm too short”

Share the burden, trust the Lord and do not give up the promise land is ahead. We are not there yet but we are on the way.

In the long arms of God’s grace,

Pastor Ben



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