It was another one of those days for Moses, the leader of God’s people. (Numbers 11) Everyone was whining and complaining – unhappy with this and disgruntled over that and well – the issue today was the menu. They were sick and tired of manna – gagging at the thought of eating another bite.

A movement in the massive wilderness camp spread from tent to tent. Probably a contingent of unbelieving Egyptians who had mixed and mingled with the people of God fuelled the fires of discontent and fomented the unrest.

“Yeah, this is brutal. Remember the awesome gourmet meals we had in Egypt? Fish, leeks, onions and garlic – even cucumbers! This manna is a pathetic excuse for food.”

Moses seemed to be discouraged and he took the matter to the Lord in prayer. He didn’t hold back when he expressed his feelings to the Lord.

“Lord, this is rough. I’m swamped with all their complaints. Why did You give me this exceedingly heavy burden to carry? I never conceived all these children. They’re definitely not mine; so, why have You laid the burden of them all on my shoulders? It’s too heavy for me to carry alone. I’m just one man and I feel my frailty. So You said, You’d give them meat to eat because they are sick of manna flakes and cakes – but really, if all the fish of the sea were gathered together in one place and we caught them all – would that even be enough to feed well over a million people?”

Did you ever have a day like that? Perhaps Moses failed in his discouragement, but the other side of the coin is: the Lord loves it when we are ‘real’ with Him. Not irreverent – but real. The Lord responded:

“Don’t worry Moses. My arm is not too short to reach down there and do such a miracle. I am able. Trust me. And to lighten your burden, I will share the same Spirit who empowers you with seventy other elders here in this camp. Go pick them out.”

Moses selected seventy men and asked them to join him at the tabernacle to see what God would do. Sixty-eight showed up and the power of God came down and all of them began prophesying with the evident power of God. But Eldad and Medad stayed right in the camp, failing to join the others.

A boy spotted the two men prophesying in the middle of the camp and ran to tell Moses. Young Joshua overheard the report and quickly said to Moses: “Such things ought not to be. They are dead wrong. Moses, you must put a swift stop to this immediately.”

Now consider Moses’ response.

But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” Numbers 11:29

What a man of God Moses was! No, he wasn’t perfect. He got discouraged earlier in the day and complained to the Lord – but who wouldn’t!  However, in the case of the two no-shows, Eldad and Medad, observe his unselfish noble motives; his excellent spirit, free from envy and free from any effort to promote himself. It was all about God’s glory and His power being displayed. If God was choosing a different means to display His power, who was he to squash it, question it or hinder it?

Moses’ words were very similar to Christ’s response in Mark 9:39 and also the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:18.

We can’t put limits on God. He can work through whomever and however He chooses and we should always rejoice when He does, without a critical or harsh spirit. Such was Moses’ spirit of grace and largeness of heart and depth of spirituality.

Apart from your bouts of discouragement, how is your heart before the Lord?

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today,

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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