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!”
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.
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