“I am not able to bear all these people alone because the burden is too heavy for me. If You treat me like this please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!” (Numbers 11:14, 15)
These are Moses’ words when the people complained about not having the basic food they used to have in Egypt: meat, fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic (vv. 4-5). They were items impossible to get in the desert. This is why God miraculously sent manna from heaven. However, many Israelites came to their leader to urge him to change their diet. They were asking the impossible due to the type of food but also to the number of people. Even if we are not told the exact number of people, we can give an estimate. The census of male Israelites, older than twenty years, taken shortly after their departure from Egypt was 603,550 (Exod. 38:26; Num. 1:46). If every adult man represented a family of four or five members, we can easily calculate a total of 2.5 or 3 million mouths to feed. Naturally, the situation causes Moses to get discouraged and desperate enough to plead with God by saying, «Please kill me.» Thoughts of death, the desire of dying and attempts at killing oneself are some of the most serious symptoms of depression, and Moses must have felt great pain in his soul to make such a request.
But God did not leave Moses in that dead end. Despite his evident lack of faith (see vv. 21-22), God presented him with a solution. It was a very painful way for the most rebellious ones as they found death as a result of their disobedience. It is not easy to understand the fatal outcome, but only God knows the ultimate reasons. What is clear is that God took over Moses’ desperation and offered him a way out of the problematic situation.
Maybe you are confronted with serious problems, something as difficult as feeding 2 or 3 million people in the desert. Remember that nothing is impossible with God and that His promises are reliable. He will not always solve the problem the way you expect it, but He promises to lighten your burden, «Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls» (Matt. 11:28, 29).