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!” – Num. 11:29 NIV
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In quick succession, the Israelites had done the usual which was to complain and grumble. It seemed to be their pastime during the great movement to the Promised Land. They had to always look for something to grumble about. They had first grumbled about the hardships they were experiencing on their way to destiny and this got to the hearing of the Lord who promptly send down fire from heaven. The fire burned within and outside the camp and the people, probably for fear of being consumed by the fire called on Moses who immediately prayed to the Lord and the fire stopped with the location promptly remained Taberah – Num. 11:1-3. Like that was not sufficient experience for them to desist from grumbling, they started another round of grumbling, this time about their having to eat manna all the time instead of the varieties that they were used to eating when they were in Egypt. This new grumbling really got the Almighty God very angry and also got Moses troubled an he equally had to complain to the Lord wondering why he should be saddled with such an enormous responsibility – Num. 11:3-15. In his own view, he would rather prefer that the Lord kill him than him having the responsibility to lead these people to the land promised to their fore-fathers.
The Almighty God swung into action, promising not only to provide the variety demanded for by the people (Num. 11:18-23) but to also provide relief for Moses so as to ease the burden of leading the people – Num. 11:17-18. In order to achieve the latter objective, he asked Moses to present to him seventy elders of Israel who will support him so as to ease the burden of leading the people. They must however, meet the following conditions;
- They must be known to Moses as leaders.
- They must have administrative experience being already officials of the people.
The plan of the Almighty God was to come down and speak with the people and then take from power of the spirit that was already on Moses and put same on the seventy elders. They were not receiving a fresh anointing but were getting from what Moses already had. That obviously meant a reduced spiritual ability in Moses. So when the sixty-eight elders were gathered before the Lord with the other two of them, Eldad and Medad, staying back in the camp, and the Lord did as he said, taking power out of Moses and giving it, not only to the sixty-eight who were present but also to the two who remained in the camp, a loyalist of Moses ran to inform him of the development whilst Joshua, son of Nun who was another loyal aide from youth suggested stopping them from prophesying but Moses reacted in the scripture that is the foundation of today’s devotion – Num. 11:26-29. He wondered why they were trying to be jealous on his behalf adding that he would actually prefer to have all the lord’s people possess the same gift of prophecy that he had.
The scripture throws up several lessons for the Christian today who intends to be guided by knowledge some of which are listed below.
- God will never be happy with grumblers and may actually punish the act of grumbling severely. Grumbling is a clear expression of lack of belief in a course. When a people who are being led by God begin to grumble, it is a clear expression of lack of belief in His ability to do what He has promised. It is possible for someone to become disillusioned about a course but all such should do is to seek further clarification from the Lord as to whether he/she is still on course to achieving the goal. The solution can never be to grumble. That was the major reason why their journey to the Promised Land projected to be done in forty days took the better part of forty years as they Lord considered their grumbling as a test of His ability – Psa. 95:8-11.
- A God-chosen leader should never allow the reaction of the followers to make him/her become frustrated with the Lord as such may experience reduced grace. In whatever manner it may be viewed, the bottom line remained that whatever level of grace given to Moses at the beginning of the task was reduced by his vituperation before the Lord. He had accused the Almighty God of wanting him dead which was why he placed such a huge responsibility on his shoulders. It seems Moses had a habit of being reluctant to take on tasks and always over-reacting to every challenge he met as a leader. It has always been his way from the time he was called up for the task (Gen. 3:1-4:17) to the time that he struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock – Num. 20:8-13. As leaders chosen by the Almighty God, there must be controlled reaction to every challenge with the exercising of caution to avoid actions that project lack of belief in the support of the Lord, being paramount.
- God had already given all that Moses required for success on the task to him which was why all He had to do was to take the extra power that Moses will no longer need and share same to those who need it – Num. 11:25. The Almighty God will always empower the one He is sending on a task with all that such will need and he expects performance based on such enablement. The one who declines a task should equally expect a commensurate reduction to the level of the declining that was expressed with of course a loss of the corresponding reward that goes with such success. Moses in this case may not have lost the reward as the seventy elders were to work with him and do not have their own independent calling unlike Aaron who was called independent of the call of Moses due to the reluctance of Moses to take up the task fully – Exo. 4:14-16.
- Unwillingness to use a given grace is an express road to losing such Grace as god expects every grace given to be used for the purpose it was given. The Almighty God is a shrewd investor and expects every investment to produce profit. Every input He has made is an investment and not producing profit from it is an invitation for His wrath – Matt. 25:14-30.
- There are always people around leaders who always want to cry more than the bereaved. Joshua the son of Nun and the servant were willing to stop Eldad and Medad from manifesting the gift given to the chosen elders as according to him, they remained in the camp whereas Moses who was the person from whom the power was taken did not even try to fight it – Num. 11:27-28.
- God differentiates between elders and leaders. The prescription of the Lord for Moses on whom to choose indicates that one may be an elder but may not be a leader – Num. 11:16. The truth is that all it takes to be an elder is just time spent within a group. The oldest person in a group will be seen as the eldest and a group of people who have spent longest time within a group will be regarded as elders bit they may not necessarily be leaders. Leaders must have requisite skills to direct the affairs of people successfully but may not necessarily be one of the eldest members of a group. In the administrative system of the Almighty God, the people he needs are Leaders and not elders but being an elder may actually be an additional advantage.
- God demands for experience when He is considering people for a task. Like every administrative set-ups, experience is of essence. This has nothing to do with the length of time the person may have spent within the group but how many positions of responsibility he/she such has excelled in. The requirements set by the Apostles for choosing the replacement for Judas Iscariot remains a relevant example in this regard. In their list of qualifications for that role, the suggested candidate must have been one who has been with the group for a while and not a recent member of the group – Acts 1:21-22. The Christian group must always ensure that only people who are grounded in the doctrine and practices of Christianity are allowed to suggested for occupying positions of leadership in Christendom.
The Christian who intends to walk with, and for the Almighty God must always be guided by knowledge. He chooses people by Grace and not because they merit it, and that is after they have met some minimum standard. He also ensures that He bestows on His elect all that they require for success on every divine task. The one chosen by Him must learn to trust in Him and avoiding comments and actions that give the impression that they are alone or have been left unarmed to undertake a divine task and thus exposed to death like Moses accused the Lord – Num. 11:15. He is not wicked and does not wish evil for those whom he has chosen for His tasks. Be sure that He it is that commissioned you for the task that you have chosen to undertake and learn to trust Him as that is all you need to achieve success on such tasks. You were chosen out of many that were probably better than you. Do not lose the reward that he intended for you when He chose you for that task. May his grace remain in your life till the end in Jesus name. Amen.