It’s a very obscure story in the Old Testament; one that I’d honestly forgotten. In it, God chose to place His Spirit on 70 of the elders of Israel. For a very short time, they all spoke messages of God to their countrymen. Then, for 68 of them, their prophesying ceased. Yet, 2 others continued to share messages of God for a period of time thereafter.
Interestingly, when others heard of it, they were concerned and complained to Moses. In fact, Joshua, Moses’ right-hand man said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” (Numbers 11:28). Apparently, Joshua feared for Moses’ respect and leadership among the people; he didn’t want Moses to have any competition from others.
I’m sure Joshua’s intentions were good, but Moses’ response was better… “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!” (11:29)
Moses understood that there was no place for competition among God’s servants. He simply wanted God to be known by his countrymen. In Moses’ eyes, therefore, the more messengers the better!
As I turned the page, and entered Chapter 12, I stumbled upon an explanation for why Moses responded in this manner. As I read, I wished the same could be said of me… “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (12:3)
Humility allows us to remember that it’s the message of God, and not the messengers of God, that truly matter. When we focus on Him, all competition fades away. –Dave
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