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Grace Lutheran Church Weekly Devotion - Numbers 11:24–30

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Reverend Steve Zandstra

Numbers 11:24–30

Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent. 25Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it.  26Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” 29But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 30And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Whatever our standard of living, our lifestyle, we want to keep it while adding more.  We are used to our luxuries, houses, vehicles, credits cards, Sunday fried chicken.  We hate having to become unaccustomed to them.  That is what Israel was facing in the wilderness after coming out of Egypt.  They really did not like it either.  In our text, God gives us the example of the result of Israel’s remembering the way they lived, and the food they had in Egypt; the fish, cucumbers, melons, and such (cf. 11:4-6).  The problem is that they had forgotten about the slavery part.  Now they were bored with the simple fare God provided and their selfishness leads them to grumbling and to say, “Oh that we had meat to eat!” (cf. 11:4b).  Their complaining about water and the food God was giving them every day, became more than Moses could handle.  His God-given duties became a burden heavier than the life he had become accustomed to (cf. vs 10-15).  For years Moses tended his father-in-law’s sheep, but now God had put him in charge of a nation (cf. Exodus 3). 

God heard Moses’ cry for help and acted.  God put His Spirit on the elders, and to authenticate their God given call to help Moses; they began to prophesy.  However, for some reason Eldad and Medad stayed in the camp, and they also prophesied.  But for Joshua, his accustomed manner of living gets upset; Moses being the God-ordained leader of the nation.  In his well-intentioned, but misguided way, Joshua is protecting his boss’s turf.  He wants Moses to stop Eldad and Medad and perhaps all the elders from this new order of leadership.  Moses asks, “Are you jealous for my sake?” (29).  Like Joshua, we tend to work hard to protect our turf, our way of living we have grown accustomed to.  

Like the seventy elders, when God puts His Spirit on us, He is giving us a whole different manner of life than we are accustomed to.  No, the seventy elders did not receive better food, or an easier life.  Being filled with the Spirit of God, their duties now included aiding Moses in leading the nation.  And since it was a gift from God, there was no need to protect their turf either.  

The Holy Spirit the Lord pours out was not just given once to the seventy elders or to just one nation, nor to one leader as Joshua thought it should be.  When the Holy Spirit is upon us, we have a life that extends far beyond what we are accustomed to.  Life becomes so much richer than we’re accustomed to.  The life given to us by the Spirit is from “the Lord and giver of life” (Nicene Creed).  Our new life is the life earned by the One who promises to send the Spirit, the eternal Son of God who laid down His life on the cross to give new life for all people.  No one is accustomed to gaining life by losing it, but that is exactly what Jesus did—for Moses, for Joshua, for Israel, for you and me who believe in Him because of the Holy Spirit.  It is a life that is greater than life in the world, having fancy cars, a great credit score, or an abundance of food.   Instead, your new life is filled with the promises of God, that all who call upon Jesus for help will receive the power to overcome our weaknesses of sin, and forgiveness for our laxity and sinful rebellion.  Most of all, you have the promise that God will provide everything that He knows is best for you: Life without end.

825 North 1st West

Cheyenne Wells, CO, 80810-0728

Sunday Service begins at 9:00AM