Daily Worship

Re: Commence — The unexpected

Erick du Toit May 25, 2021 0 0
Image credit: Unsplash
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Numbers 11: 24-30 (NIVUK)

24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and made them stand round the tent. 25 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.

26 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. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ assistant since youth, spoke up and said, ‘Moses, my lord, stop them!’

29 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!’ 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

I find the conversation between Moses and God hilarious in this chapter.

The Israelites are getting sick and tired of eating manna in the dessert and start wailing. They complain amongst each other and long to be back in Egypt where they had a variety of food, including fish and meat.

Then Moses whines to the Lord about being burdened by the weight of a nation’s displeasure.

God’s reply?

“Summon 70 elders to meet me at the Tent so they can share your burden and tell the people to consecrate themselves… and then, you must be ready to eat meat until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it!”

Imagine that conversation!

At this point you’d expect the drama to reach a close, but there’s more. Moses questions God’s ability to provide meat for 600,000 men and God casually ends the conversation on a satirical note:

“Is the Lord’s arm too short?”

Of course not.

The quail arrived.

And like these small birds arriving from out of nowhere the Spirit descended upon the 70 elders enabling them to prophesy.

It must have been incredible to witness. 

To their astonishment this experience wasn’t limited to a select few at the tent. Somehow the Spirit also rested on Eldad and Medad who remained in the camp. They too, prophesied.

About what? 

Being content?

Counting your blessings?

Experiencing God in the in between moments?

Not replying when you don’t have your emotions intact?

What message did these prophets have that was so important the Spirit just had to intervene?

Whatever it was, it had to be good. Joshua, deeply concerned and filled with jealousy, ran to Moses to protest. But Moses is tired of all the moaning and attempts at appeasing his people, so he responds, for the first time in a while, with wisdom:

“I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”


Lord of all, 
Forgive me when I complain, 
And doubt that your Spirit shall prevail.
When I crave things that will eventually perish, 
Forgetting it’s you I cherish.