“Is the LORD’s hand waxed short?”

manna in the desert

The title of this post, in modern English, would read, “Has the LORD’s arm been shortened?” However, I like the quaintness of the King James version’s, “waxed short.”

What does that mean?

In the book of Numbers, chapter 11, God recorded the story of how the Israelites complained in the desert because they only had manna to eat day-in and day-out. They missed “the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” Moses appealed to the Lord, who promised to send meat, “not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the LORD who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, ‘Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?'”

Not long after, there came “a wind out from the LORD, and it brought quail from the sea and left them fluttering near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the ground. And the people stayed up all that day, all night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers); and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was aroused against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague. So they called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving.”

All the time, God could have given them meat to eat, if He had wanted to. At first, Moses had trouble envisioning that possibility, and said to God, “The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot [my note: if you include women and children, there were probably more than a million people]; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month.’ Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?”
Then the Lord responded:

“Has the LORD’s arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not” (Numbers 11:23).

What God said would happen, happened. He was not limited in any way. A million people or more to provide with meat–not a problem. I believe there are two lessons here for us:

1)The Lord is fully capable of providing for all our needs.

2)We need to be content with the way in which He provides for our needs, and not complain about His provision.

First, let’s talk about how God can provide for all our needs.

As parents to six children (the sixth is still in the womb), we are sometimes confronted with the remark, “Well, it’s alright for you to have that many children…IF you can afford it.” Is that biblical thinking, or is that humanistic thinking? We believe that if (a)children are a blessing from God, as the Scriptures say (Psalm 127:3-5), and if (b)God controls conception and the consequent formation of each tiny human being in the womb, as the Scriptures also say (Psalm 139:13-16), and if (c)God is capable of providing for all our needs, THEN (d)we don’t need to worry about whether we will be able to provide for that many children, or not. It’s not that we are not in tune with reality, but rather, that we are profoundly aware of the fact that God’s hand is not shortened in the midst of whatever circumstance we may be going through!

Just recently, I was worried (yes, I know, even despite all I say, I was worried) about where we were going to get the money to pay for more than a thousand dollars of bills and other expenses, even though my husband works very hard to provide for our family. I actually cried about it, even as I prayed. It felt like too big of a problem for me. Then, God provided more than enough money to pay for every single one of those needs! How happy I feel! I have been reminded that, “The earth is the LORD’s and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). God owns everything, so He has no trouble moving a little bit of money (or a lot of money) from one place to another, from one hand to another.

I know that there are those of you who have mountains of bills totaling perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Perhaps you are in debt because you mis-spent your money. In that case, you must learn to be more responsible with your resources, and live within your means, not depending upon credit cards. If you submit your spending habits to God’s ways, He will help you get out of that debt, eventually.

Other people are in debt through no fault of their own, but perhaps are dealing with medical bills and emergencies that they had no may of knowing would pop up. Trust in God’s provision! He will take care of you, if you trust in Him, and you ask Him to!

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).

The second point I want to make, is that we should be content with the way in which God provides for us. The Israelites were unhappy with manna; they wished God would give them a menu with more variety. Well, He could have, couldn’t He? So, why didn’t He? I don’t know the answer to that, but perhaps it was because manna was what was best for them, at the time. Perhaps it was a test, too, to see if they would have a good attitude about it. After all, their tummies were full, weren’t they? And weren’t their bodies being nourished properly?

But isn’t that what we do, too? Don’t WE complain when we don’t have what we want? We aren’t happy when our needs are being barely provided for (even though that provision really is enough to cover our basic needs), but expect that God will always shower us with gifts in abundance. He could, couldn’t He? Then why doesn’t He? Maybe, the way in which He is providing for us is what is best for us, at the time. Or, maybe it is a test, to see if we will have a good attitude about it. Another consideration, is that when we are aware of our needs, we turn our eyes to God, instead of trusting in “uncertain riches”!

The Bible says:

“…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11b-13).

 and

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Will the Christian sometimes suffer scarcity? Yes, according to the Bible. Our lives here on earth are not meant to be comfy and cushy. However, we know that when we ask God to help us, He listens. He is capable of causing our cups to overflow with blessings! And even when He, in His wisdom, only fills the cup just barely to the rim, we know that He is still caring for us, in the way that is best for us, at the time. We must learn to give thanks in everything!

Sometimes, I will hear people complain about how “expensive” children are: first are the diapers and clothes; then come school tuition, expensive toys, sports, dance and music lessons; and later on, cars, college, and weddings. Whew! What a lot of money! Better to have only one or two children so we can be able to afford all of that, right? Well, who said that we need all that stuff? The Bible says that “God shall supply all your need,” not all your want!

I save all of my children’s clothes to be passed down from the bigger children to the smaller children. And you know what? The little ones are actually excited to get to wear older brother’s or sister’s clothes! They don’t feel left out because they don’t get a wardrobe of new clothes just for themselves every year. We homeschool our children, which saves on tuition and transportation. Obviously, I stay home with them, which saves on paying for childcare–and my children are happy to be at home! They hardly ever get sick, either. They aren’t involved in sports, or music or dance lessons. I know that sounds sad to some; but, they have fun riding their bikes outside, playing games with each other, playing on the piano we have here at home, drawing pictures, reading books, and using their imaginations. My husband and I almost never go out on dates (how horrible, right?) But, we always make time to talk to each other about our day. If the children are being noisy, we take a short walk in front of our house, or we go to our bedroom, or we simply sit down at the table, and let them know that we don’t want any interruptions for a little while. It works! I don’t feel neglected by my husband, and I certainly don’t feel that I’m lacking alone time with him. I could go on and on about all the ways that we are saving money by not doing things the way most other people do. And…we’re happy! Sure, there are certain things that I wish I had, that I don’t have now. But, who says I won’t ever have them? Maybe one of these days, God will give them to me! And even if not, the most important thing is not to get everything I want, but “to [learn] in whatever state I am, to be content.”

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10 thoughts on ““Is the LORD’s hand waxed short?”

  1. Loved this! Thank you for this great article.

    I have lately been pondering the “it’s okay to have children IF you can afford them” mantra. I used to say this. But then I realized a couple of truths, primarily that God is still sovereign in conception even if we think we can’t afford a child. (And that’s apart from the artificial costs we pile on top of child-raising, as you pointed out.) Our last child was conceived when we DEFINITELY “couldn’t afford it.” According to the world’s wisdom, we should not have let her come into the world, and we would not have her precious little life right now. I’m so thankful we didn’t follow that advice. (Though I certainly regret that we DID follow that advice in times past, early in our marriage.)

    Thank you for your writing! Hope pregnancy is treating you well! We’re heading north ourselves next week for Thanksgiving – I will be thinking of you! 🙂

    Diana

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your warm-hearted comment, Diana!
      I’m so glad to know we think alike in this! You know, when people consider whether or not to have a baby, their primary concern is often finances. Of course, this seems like very practical thinking. However, there is more to a human life than the “affordability” of it. We are little ants, who can’t possibly even fathom the far-reaching plans that God has for each human life, rippling into all other human lives. There is so much more to a person’s existence than how “expensive” they are! Goodness–how humanistic we Christians have allowed ourselves to be in our thinking.
      Anyway, pregnancy is treating me well, thank you for asking! I’m starting to really think about the upcoming labor. Will I be able to remain calm and peaceful throughout? I hope and pray so!
      By the way, one of these days, it would be awesome to get together. We’re here in Prescott Valley.

      Have a happy Thanksgiving!
      Jessica

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amen to all you said here! I especially loved:

        “…when people consider whether or not to have a baby, their primary concern is often finances. Of course, this seems like very practical thinking. However, there is more to a human life than the “affordability” of it. We are little ants, who can’t possibly even fathom the far-reaching plans that God has for each human life, rippling into all other human lives. There is so much more to a person’s existence than how “expensive” they are!”

        Yes, yes, yes!

        And we’d love to get together! I will use your email function to email you. 🙂

        Diana

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  2. Financial problem of our household is always reality we have to face.I know that even christians are also struggling for it.

    In Japan,we have to pay so much money for one child,same as USA. Especially education cost is so high here.Homeschooling is uncommon,regarded only for kids who cannot go to school by special reason like getting bullied ,sickness or so. I have never met homeschooling christians,they are so few in Japan.Many mothers are working outside to afford the cost.Christian mothers are also.

    As for me, maybe so blessed to be able to stay home to help family. My husband also hopes me so. Surely we are not rich. I do’nt have smartphone,my son does’nt have cellphone. Many of our clothes are secondhand ones.We use only one computer.But I am happy,because God hath given me faith in Him. And I can share this faith with my family.

    When I was a university student(during the first days after I had faith in Jesus),reading books which one Japanese photographer wrote at library, I found that he quoted bible words in his sentences. It was from Proverb 30.8 saying ‘Give me neither poverty nor riches,feed me with food convenient for me.’.

    I was very moved,and felt ‘How it’ll be wonderful if this prayer is my one for my livelihood.’ I feel the same now.

    This article is also testimony how you live. I was so encouraged to read this. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, thank you for your kind and honest comment, Sanae!
      Yes, I agree, that financial problems do seem to be a problem for most of us. I’m certainly very happy to be able to stay home and homeschool our children; I know that homeschooling is not always possible for families in other countries, though I think it should be!
      It is encouraging to hear how your family is also learning to live with less. It is always so good to hear from others in similar circumstances.
      Also, the verse you shared from Proverbs is perfect for this topic! And so true, too! Even though having lots of money seems like it would be a dream come true, being rich has its problems, too, but of a different sort.
      Thank you, again, for your wonderful comment!
      Jessica

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Sanae,
        I forgot to add one thing to my reply!
        I started out by saying, “Yes, I agree, that financial problems do seem to be a problem for most of us.” However, I want to add that even though around the world, many of us have financial problems in common, we, as Christians, also have one God in common, Who is capable of caring for us no matter where we are! He is the same, wherever we are, in whatever country, in whatever circumstances. We can trust in Him!
        Jessica

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dearest Jessica,

    Good morning. First of all, I was excited to read your new post! It’s been a while we read your update one. Second, it is indeed an excellent post as Diana and Sanae already mentioned.

    In my area, there are many Gypsy families and they usually have many children. Unfortunately, I see some of them (*not all of them, of course) force their children to do unlawful things to earn their livings. On the other hand, I also see many families who have many children, for whom God has provided their needs miraculously and mercifully. So what makes these differences, I wonder.

    I think our God sees through each one’s heart. And as He said, when we seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things shall be added unto this person (or the families).

    Jessica, I also see many other wonderful points regarding “many siblings”. For example, my husband has 5 brothers and sisters and they used to live and sleep in one room. He told me that even though they were not rich, they learned how to “live together” from their young age. They learned sacrificial and cooperative spirit in this communal living.
    When I read “Little Women” (Louisa M. Alcott), I was impressed to see how these young siblings help each other under the tight economical circumstances and how they’ve grown up to care and love their parents. It is opposite from egoism and individualism which characterize our modern society today.

    So I truly believe that what you have been appointed by Him (to foster many children) is so worthy and honorable. And I respect your (and your husband’s) decision. God bless and protect you and your baby! (We are looking forward to seeing your new baby soon!)

    Kinuko

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    • Thank you, Kinuko, for sharing your observations!
      (I’m so glad that you’re safely back from your mission trip, too!)

      I agree with you that living in a large family does cause us to become less selfish, and more sacrificial and cooperative.

      Regarding your observation about some Gypsy families who force their children to do illegal things compared to other families who have been provided for miraculously by God, I would like to add my own thoughts.

      Children are a gift from God.
      God gives His good gifts to both the just and the unjust, as the Bible says. It’s His choice.
      However, just like any gift, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of that gift.
      Now, that does not mean that we should reject that gift because we are worried that we will not be good stewards.
      If God chooses to give us the gift of children, He will also give us the means to care for them properly. And if, for some reason, we have difficulty doing so, we know that He will provide help for us through the means of another person, or people, whose hearts He has moved to be His hands in our life.
      Some people misuse the gift of children by forcing them to do bad things (like some of those Gypsies you mentioned).
      This is very sad. They obviously do these things because they do not love God.
      However, what is the solution? Is it to force those people to have fewer children, hoping that they won’t feel so desperate, and therefore won’t do such things?
      OR, is the solution to present the truth of the Gospel to them, as opportunity arises, and to pray for them? Because without a CHANGED HEART, nothing will really change in their lives. It wouldn’t matter whether they only had one child, or no children, they would still find ways to break the law, because their hearts are in rebellion against God.
      If their needs are not being provided for, why is that?
      I believe that it is because 1)they don’t believe in the true God, and 2)therefore they do not pray to Him to ask His help, and 3)they do not honor Him (God does not hear us when we persist in rebellion). If they would turn to the true God, ask His help, and honor Him with their lives, I believe that they, too, would receive God’s miraculous provision for their needs.
      However, even for Christians, this life can be full of hardship and trouble. Eventually, our lives will end in death–through injury, through sickness, or through old age. We cannot completely escape the curse, can we. So, we should not expect that even as we trust in God’s provision that we will be totally free from suffering. Obedience to God does not make our lives free from suffering. That cannot be our gauge of whether we are in His will or not. If we have many children, and we have hardship, that does not necessarily mean that we are out of His will, just like the apostle Paul was obeying the Lord by being a missionary to many people, and yet, he too, suffered hardship, including hunger, beatings, stonings, bondage, and eventually death. Was he not doing God’s will? Is that why he suffered so much? Of course not! So, when we SURRENDER our whole bodies to God by allowing Him to control even our conception (our bodies are not our own), and we TRUST in Him, and do not give in to fear, we may sometimes suffer, too–but that does not mean we are not doing God’s will.
      We cannot understand why He allows many things to happen in our lives. If we give control of our conception over to Him, and He doesn’t give us children, why is that? If we give control of our conception over to Him, and those children end up dying, why is that? If we give control of our conception over to Him, and He allows us to suffer need (at least for a time), why is that? I don’t have all the answers–I simply trust in Him Who does!
      And, how do we know who God has appointed to have children, and who not? Is that something we are supposed to figure out on our own? I believe that the Bible teaches differently. If we (in the context of marriage) end up having children, then it is because it was God’s will. If we don’t end up having children (without using any sort of contraceptive method), then it isn’t God’s will. It’s easy. We can pray for children, like the godly, barren women of the Bible prayed for them, and He may grant them to us, because, after all, He IS capable of being completely in control of conception! However, even if He doesn’t give us the gift of children for some reason, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are out of His will, either. He may choose to bless us in other ways.
      This is an area under God’s sovereignty, and not meant to be under our control. We must trust in Him. Do we have faith in Him only in certain areas of our lives, and not in others? That is a decision we must all come to face, eventually. Where does our faith end? Where are we telling God that we draw the line? Sometimes our own inability to understand how things can work out blocks us from trusting in Him. But rest assured, if He gives us children, He will show us how things can work out in our lives, no matter what our situation is. Will it be easy? Probably not. But will it be for the best? Yes, if we are living for Him.
      Thank you, again, for your wonderful comment. I always love hearing from you; your comments always give so much food for thought!
      Jessica

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jessica, I am so glad that you published this post. Most families in my church have 2-3 children. The largest family has 4.
    There is a woman in my church who is the mother of 3. She told me that I donated too much money towards Jesus Well project. She said the same thing last year. She always says how amazing that all of her children went to the university. She also runs several children ministries in our church.
    I know she has a heart for God. But at the same time. She is enticed by this world. I think that she considers me a bit strange (at the very least).
    I will be done school this week. My graduation is in June.
    I am also working on couple of articles. One of them is about reducing the waste: sewing clothes, using yougurt cups for sandbox toys, building blocks, pencil holders, and a toy phone. I can share it with you, if you want.
    It breaks my heart, seeing so many Christians compromise their faith.
    Sorry for the rant. I keep you and your family in my prayers,
    Irina

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    • Dear Irina,
      No need to apologize for “ranting”! I love to hear what you think, and to hear about your experiences.
      First of all, thank you for your prayers! They are much appreciated.
      I do think that sometimes we as Christians can hold back certain areas of our lives from the Lord. Sometimes we refuse to submit to Him in this or that thing. Even though we have been born again, and have been given a new nature–that of the new man (or woman)–we can still choose to walk according to the pattern of the old nature, the old man (or woman). We still have free will. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean we are now robots without the ability to make our own decisions. So, yes, people can do many good things for God, and can truly love Him, but at the same time, still be resisting God’s will for them, and still be thinking in a worldly way, in a particular area of their lives. The goal should be that we surrender ALL of ourselves to God–but, this is a process.
      For my part, I think that you are free to donate as much as you want to the Jesus Wells Project. It’s your choice, and, I believe, a very good one! We must have discernment (as I believe you have) to know what things are worth our time and money, and what things are not.
      On another note, I’m so excited about your upcoming graduation in June! You have been working so hard–I hope all the best for you. I wonder, what are your plans for after you graduate?
      And yes, I would definitely be interested in reading your articles about reducing waste.
      Thank you,
      Jessica

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