The Spirit and the Struggle
Lord, may my heart’s desire be for Jesus, “the bread from heaven,” and for nothing else.
Read Numbers 11:16-35
 The LORD said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you.  I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.  “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it.  You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days,  but for a whole month-until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it-because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”‘”  But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’  Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?”  The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”  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.  Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction.  All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp.  But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.  Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food.  From Kibroth Hattaavah the people traveled to Hazeroth and stayed there. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat provoked God's anger?
Two different stories are interwoven here: one wonderful, one terrible. In the first, Moses complains that there is no way he can lead everyone without help. So God gives him help. In fact, God takes the Spirit that is on Moses and distributes it around (25), with gloriously chaotic results: people start prophesying all over the place, including Eldad and Medad back at camp (26). Joshua thinks this is highly inappropriate. Moses’ famous response, in our verse for today, sees a bigger picture–one that will still be in God’s sights come Pentecost (in Acts 2). But then the second story. The people offend God by asking for meat instead of manna. So God gives them so much meat that they will get sick of it (20). And when it comes, as quail (31), it is even worse than that, and God’s anger strikes them with a plague (33). Is the interweaving of the stories a key? On the one hand: blessing. On the other: judgment. As Job once put it, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10).
Our God is a jealous God. Allow him to expose things in you that are opposed to him and help you turn from them.
Father, Your way is the way of life. I do not want to walk on my own, apart from You.
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