June 03, 2016

Instilling Spirit

Numbers 11:16-30

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!”

—  Numbers 11:29

Today’s verses relate a bleak story as the Israelites travel through the wilderness. They complain that they have no meat, and God provides them with quail. Tucked in the middle of this story is an important truth about God’s Holy Spirit.

Burdened by Israel’s whining, Moses cries out to God in despair. Graciously answering, God not only provides Israel with meat; he also relieves some of Moses’ burden.

To relieve Moses of the heavy load of leading so many people, God promises to rest his Spirit on seventy elders of Israel. When the Spirit fills those ­elders, however, some of the Israelites, including Joshua, try to quench the Spirit in them. Moses responds, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”

God’s Spirit remained on the seventy, as well as Joshua, who later succeeded Moses as leader of Israel. This story points forward to the prophet Joel’s words that God would one day pour out his Spirit on all of his people, young and old, men and women alike (Joel 2:28-29). At Pentecost, Moses’ prayer was fulfilled (Acts 2). Since Jesus, the Prophet, has come, God’s Spirit has been poured out on all of God’s people.

Take comfort in God’s Spirit in your life today, and live as his prophetic voice in the world.

Holy Spirit, you have been poured out on us. Live in us, we pray, in such a way that we speak to a world that needs to hear your voice. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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