Is the Lord’s Arm Too Short?

By Pastor Teck Uy

We often gauge God’s ability to bless by the nature of our requests. If they are simple requests, we always believe that he is able to answer them. However, if they are difficult and complicated, we tend to doubt his ability and take the “que sera sera” (what will be, will be) attitude – i.e., we do not fully believe that he is able to do what he promised. This was the same attitude Moses had when God promised to provide meat for the Israelites. Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’  Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?” (Numbers 11:21-22). Yes, God promised that he would provide them meat not only for one or two days, not five, ten or twenty, but for a whole month – until they loathed it. But is God able to provide?

By quickly analyzing the situation, Moses could not imagine how the Lord could provide the meat that he promised. He realized that there were no other animals in the desert except the ones they brought out of Egypt and, even if they had to slaughter them all, it still would not be enough for everyone. But God rebuked him saying, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you” (Numbers 11:23). Indeed, we only trust God for the simple things but when it comes to big things, as in providing meat for a month for over two million people, we entertain doubt. No wonder some put their lives into their own hands when they think that their problems are too big for the Lord to solve. It is as if they are more capable than the Lord. But time and again, the Lord would prove them wrong as he answers their prayers and does wonders before their eyes.

In this particular case of Moses, God sent the wind and drove quail in from the sea and it covered the land. There were so many quails that no one gathered less than 10 homers. This only confirms that “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19). Surely, God is able to provide and fulfil what he promised. But though God provided for what they craved, many of them did not enjoy it because “while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague” (Numbers 11:33). God’s reason for sending the plague was that the people had craved for other food. They were not content with what God provided them as their daily bread.

We should never discount the ability or the power of God to answer our petition. We need to have faith in him and believe his promises. On one occasion, a man whose son was demon possessed came to Jesus, pleading for him to heal the boy saying, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Such a statement did not sit well with Jesus as it was full of doubt. Jesus rebuked him saying, “‘If you can?’ Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23). Indeed, nothing is too hard for the Lord. All that we need to do is believe in his word and promises.

One of the reasons many doubt God’s ability to fulfil his promises is that these promises do not come at the time they expect. Some promises come quickly but others take a while. However, it should be understood that God’s timing is perfect. We are told in Scriptures that “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:11). The Israelites could have enjoyed the meat fully had they waited for the right time for them to have it.  But while waiting, we need to be content and be still and know that God is able. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God emphasized his faithfulness when he said, “But I the LORD will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious people, I will fulfill whatever I say” (Eze. 12:25).

Similarly, God said through the prophet Isaiah that his words will not return to him empty but will accomplish what he desires and achieve the purpose for which he sent it. Therefore, let us put our faith in the Lord. His promises will surely come to pass. He is able to bring about the desires of our hearts and grant our petitions. There is nothing too hard for the Lord. All that we need to see our petitions answered is to believe and trust in him. Meantime, let us wait patiently and be content with what we have, always remembering that his arms are not too short. Hallelujah!