“Enough is Enough”
Numbers 11:1-6; 18-20
The word ENOUGH has dual meanings for us today.
When we think of “enough” we often think of “plenty” - as in our plate is full... our bellies are filled... we have enough!
But... sometimes when we say “enough” - we’re saying we’re done... finished. We’re through! We’re up to our ears, and we say, “enough.” Or even, enough is enough!
When that happens, we sometimes feel guilty... or ashamed that we let our emotions erupt... or we let our circumstances get the best of us. But we’re in pretty good company: because it even happened to Jesus. If you remember, Jesus “erupted” in the Temple, when we saw God’s House - which was intended to be used as a house of prayer - being turned into market for money changers! And so Jesus basically said, “enough is enough” and he drove them out... with a whip!
Of course, when it comes to the first meaning of “enough” or “plenty” - sometimes I can’t help wondering whether enough exists?
*Is there ever enough time?
*Do we every have enough money?
*Do we get enough sleep?
*Are we loved enough? Do we love others enough?
*Do we have enough faith, or energy, or peace?
Can we every be good enough, or brave enough, or thoughtful enough?
Do you ever ask such things? I know I do!
Why does it feel like we’re forever lacking in these, and in other areas of our lives?
Our Old Testament lesson for today’s not the most comforting of scripture... It exposes us to an angry God. And, like so many others (maybe even some of you), I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my mind (and heart) around this side of God, because it seems out-of-step with the loving, forgiving God Jesus exposes us to in the New Testament.
The God of the Old Testament sometimes sounds mean and vengeful. But take a moment and try to view it from God’s point of view... from God’s side.
The Israelites were complaining yet again! If they could do one thing well, it was complaining, grumbling... they were a dissatisfied lot. And despite the fact that God had been faithful to His promises... their whining and bellyaching negated everything God had done for them.
God had chosen the Israelites, they were His People... He rescued them from Pharaoh’s army, accompanied them throughout the desert, even taking physical form in pillars of fire and smoke, so they could see His Presence leading them to the Promised Land... and when they were hungry, God gave them food to eat every day... in the form of Manna (the food of angels)... and none of that meant anything to them!
They grumbled (wailing in discontent)... NOT BECAUSE they were hungry - they were not hungry... they simply wanted something different. They were no longer satisfied with the provisions and blessings of a kind and benevolent God.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. The worst of it (the straw the broke the camel’s back) was when the Israelites said that things were better when they were slaves in Egypt. They had the audacity to tell the One and ONLY True God... that things were better for them... under the leadership of a pagan... a false god.
That was it. Enough is enough! God was done. God has had it up to His eyeballs, so God decided to make a lasting impression. You can read the whole story (chapter 11), but basically, God says, “You want something different? You want meat? Okay, well here it is, and it will be so plentiful that it will be coming out of your nostrils.” (I’m not kidding about the nostrils part.)
So... what is this story about? What’s the point? What are we to gain from it?
I believe that such stories are a warning to all of us. Because just any good parent loves their children... a good parent is also willing to discipline their children when he or she goes astray.
Our God is that type of God. God is not a pushover. God is our Lord. He’s a friend, for sure! But in reality, we are not equal to God in any way, shape, form or fashion... even though sometimes we’re tempted to think we are. We convince ourselves that because God is patient, and has patience with us... that is patience somehow equals bargaining power... that we can negotiate with the King of kings and Lord of lords... but we know better. And when we begin to think that way, I truly believe that God steps in and shows us the error in our limited, fully human logic.
If we open our eyes to the many blessings showered down on us... we can begin to see those blessings and gather them up in baskets (so-to-speak... like the disciples did after Jesus fed the multitudes with just 5 loaves and two fish). Our blessings are just that plentiful.
And God greatest blessing... his greatest gift... is Christ. Jesus is the Bread of Life... he’s our sustenance... our provision... He’s he true bread from Heaven, and the only bread that will ever actually satisfy our souls unto eternal life.
My prayer every day now is, “Lord, give me the true Bread of Heaven... give me your “manna” - the provision I need for today... and help me be thankful. Help me be grateful for all you’ve done...
It will be enough. I will have enough time. I will have enough to eat. I will have enough to share. I will have enough of everything, and I thank you for that.
Forgive me for being like an Israelite and complaining incessantly about things I cannot change or do not have.
I lay my worries, my fears, and my faults at Your feet. Instead of complaining, help me do something about the problems in our world. You are faithful, and your will be done.”
We have enough. We have the True Bread from Heaven. We have Jesus. Go get your basket and start gathering it up with me.