“So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.
However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.” Numbers 11:24-30
In Numbers 11 we see the people start grumbling against God- who had miraculously delivered then from oppressive bondage in Egypt..who’s presence was visible among the people. Can you imagine? Strolling our of your tent (or ducking, I guess) and visibly being able to see the glory of God in the form of a cloud or pillar of fire over the tent of meeting- 24/7. I would like to think my heart and faith would be rock solid. But I suppose human nature, being what it is, will always find fault.
The people whined for meat. For fish. For the leeeeekkkkss and the onions that they ate in Egypt. Seriously? I think I would personally take sweet, buttery manna cakes from HEAVEN over stinky fish and garlic breath. People were actually ditching camp to go back to Egypt. Nice.
God understandably is furious. Moses is just plain burnt out. He complains to God that he can’t take the burden of this people anymore. That is where we open in scripture. God graciously pours the Spirit of leadership he has given Moses onto the 70 elders as well.
I am personally encouraged that it is possible to be in the center of God’s will (as Moses surely was) and filled with the Holy Spirit but still wrestling with doubts, discouragement, and human nature. God responded to Moses with quiet compassion. He didn’t rebuke him. No one ever said being in God’s will was easy. Moses was complaining but God saw his heart, and provided much needed help to share the burden of leading this huge group of people through a rough time of transition.
I find Moses’ answer to Joshua; who was upset that these two men were prophesying and potentially a threat (in Joshua’s mind) to Moses’ authority, very interesting. The scenario is very similar to the passage in Luke 9- John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.”
Moses exclaimed, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” and “are you jealous for my sake?” Like we are not in competition here, people. There is enough blessing, anointing, and the Holy Spirit to go around. The more people filled with the fullness of Christ, the better. The kingdom of God is not like the kingdoms of this World. Leadership in the kingdom is about humility and servanthood. Mark 9:35 It is about seeking His glory, not self-exultation. Moses, something of a Christ prototype, was not threatened by God pouring out his spirit on others. He knew it was a good thing.
That is my prayer today. That the Spirit would do a fresh move in churches across the nation. God knows we need it. We need to stop bickering over details. “he who is not against you is for you.” Jesus is going to look a little different on all of us. As long as we agree on foundational doctrines, can’t we agree to disagree about details not pertinent to salvation?
Side note- We need to hold the Word of God as our absolute truth. When certain denominations, churches, leaders reject the Word and start worshipping a ‘Jesus’ remade in their own image we absolutely need to stand against that.
“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2