Okay, is anyone else picturing a parent losing their patience with their finicky child and giving them an ultimatum at the dinner table? “You won’t stop crying for dessert? I’ll make you eat so much dessert it’ll come out your nose!” And I’m not taking liberties with this passage, go read Numbers 11:18-23, God actually says this! Naturally, this is precisely how you would expected a perfectly wise deity to react.
But it gets even better. It turns out that Moses, God’s humble servant who’s faithful to a fault, is a bit short on trust. Rather than give a bow and say, “thy will be done,” he has the audacity to question God’s command! He reminds God that there are 600,000 men and their families (although there should be quite a bit fewer now, what with all the smiting), and since God is commanding them to eat meat for a month, the only way Moses can picture that happening is by them slaughtering all their livestock, and then where would they be?
Keep in mind that every morning Moses has watched God magically make enough food appear for more than 3,000,000 people to eat, so why is his faith faltering? Probably because he’s afraid that God will punish them by wiping out their food and leaving them to die in the desert, which would be completely in his character to do.
God’s response to Moses is classic. Does he tell him that the livestock will be safe? Does he calmly assuage his fears? No! He does what any God would do, he says, “Are you kidding me? I’m fuckin’ GOD!” Well not in those words, he says, “Is the arm of the Lord too short? Tomorrow you’ll see if my commands come to pass!” Ah yes, bravado, another quality you’d expect to see in the all-loving creator of the universe!