When Moses was having a hard time bearing the burden of the people, God commanded him to gather seventy men who would help him (Numbers 11:16). God would anoint them for the work of the ministry with same Spirit Moses had. We now see that come to pass – when the Spirit fell on the seventy, they prophesied – this was most likely to display God’s approval and selection of these seventy men to all the children of Israel.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary had this to say about their prophesying: “Prophesying here does not refer to prediction or even to proclamation but to giving (in song or speech) praise and similar expressions without prior training (see the comparable experience of Saul in 1 Sam. 10:9–11). This prophesying could be done only in response to the special visitation of the Spirit.”
There were two men of the seventy who remained in the camp – but they also prophesied. When Joshua found out, he was inclined to forbid them. I love Moses’ response:
Numbers 11:29 (NKJV) “Then Moses said to him, ‘Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!’”
Exclusivity, envy, or jealousy have no part in the kingdom of God. We should all want everyone to excel Spiritually, even beyond ourselves.
God then fulfilled His promise – the people would eat meat in the wilderness – but their carnality had its consequences. While the meat was still stuck between their teeth, God’s wrath was aroused – their gluttony led to “Graves of Craving,” (Kibroth Hattaavah). How we need to keep our appetites under control!
The account of Aaron and Miriam speaking against Moses has always brought a healthy fear to my heart. I thoroughly HATE slander and gossip – against anyone, but I’m especially careful never to speak negatively against my spiritual leaders.
They may have been jealous of their brother – how he was getting all the “attention,” so when the opportunity came (a potential flaw) they started to “talk.” God called them both to the carpet and rebuked them for their foolishness, why weren’t they afraid to speak against God’s anointed? Clearly he had been chosen by God, the man of God was led by God – who even spoke to Moses intimately – “face to face!” Why were they not afraid?
Moses’ humility is highlighted (no doubt later inserted by Joshua) that he didn’t retaliate for the slander against him – but God did. After the verbal correction, Miriam suffered physical correction, and the LORD struck her with leprosy. We’re not sure why Aaron wasn’t struck, it may have been because Miriam was the primary instigator, or because of Aaron’s position as High Priest. Immediately Aaron pleaded with Moses to intercede for her, which he did, and God showed her grace, with a lenient but humiliating sentence, as if He had spit in her face, seven days outside the camp.
Our hearts break to see what happened after the 12 spies returned from scouting out the promised-land for forty days. Ten gave a bad report, but two knew it had nothing to do with them – if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) If only they would have listened to Caleb (one of my favorite Bible characters)
Numbers 13:30 (NKJV) “Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.’”
Caleb had no hesitation, no reservation – he knew that if you take time to think it through with some sort of human logic, it’ll never happen. The ten men with a bad report took God OUT of the equation….never a good thing to do.
I still have my lapses of faith, but I do remember the early days of Calvary Chapel El Monte. God spoke to my heart, and I basically let my boss know that I was leaving…to start a church in El Monte. I went street witnessing hoping someone would get saved, so we could start a church in their home. I had nothing, no one, I was out there all alone (but I wasn’t alone). I don’t know what I was thinking – how would God provide for my family? Why risk it all when things were so comfortable where I was? I look back sometimes and I shake my head. How did it happen? All I can say, is it was God’s grace leading me, calling me, moving me. If I would have sat down and thought through the logic of it all (the giants against the grasshopper, the fortified city) I would have never done it. Somehow that same “spirit” of Caleb had found a home in my heart…thank You Jesus.
I still wonder, what “land” the Lord may lead us to next.
During this “Last Supper,” Jesus institutes communion – the bread symbolic of His body that was broken, the cup symbolizing His blood that would be shed – both expressions of God’s love and constant reminders of when our Savior suffered to bear our sins. In the Gospel of Luke and in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we read those words from Jesus, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25) It’s too easy to forget our Lord, so let’s be sure to do this in remembrance of Him.
I can hear them singing a hymn (Jesus too) as they make their way to the Mount of Olives, and then the shocker, Jesus lets them know that they would ALL be made to stumble that night, it was etched in Scripture (Zechariah 13:7). None of them believed it was possible, especially Peter:
Mark 14:29–31 (NKJV) “Peter said to Him, ‘Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.’ 30 Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.’ 31 But he spoke more vehemently, ‘If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ And they all said likewise.”
I can relate to Peter. As I sit here and type I believe I would have said the same thing, “I will never deny You Lord in any way!” But we need to know the nature of the battle we’re in and must always be watching and praying, for if we don’t pray, it’s an indicator of self-confidence.
Jesus warned His disciples about the temptation that was right around the corner – too bad they didn’t believe Him.
Jesus takes His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Peter, James, and John are called further, to watch with Him in prayer. Tragically, die to their self-confidence, and oblivion to the demonic danger right in front of them, they slept when they should have been praying; but Jesus prays, three times, that this hour and cup would pass, that He wouldn’t be required to go to the cross. The suffering was the start of it, the sin He would bear was a part of it, but the separation from His Father was the heart of it. Jesus made His requests, and shared His desire, but ultimately tagged it all by yielding to the will of the Father…and in the end we discover, there was no other way (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
The disciples just could not pray, they could not keep their eyes open. I believe Peter learned from this experience; later he would write in:
1 Peter 4:7 (NKJV) “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.”
Betrayed by a kiss from his friend; arrested as a dangerous villain by Temple Guards, when all He ever did was good – Jesus loved always, taught daily, and now He willingly lays down His life (John 10:18).
Mark 14:50 (NKJV) “Then they all forsook Him and fled.”
Doeg the Edomite lied to King Saul about Ahimelech the priest, saying that he had inquired of the LORD on David’s behalf. Doeg painted a picture portraying Ahimelech as a traitor to Saul, when that was not the case. Saul, however, believed the lie and this led to the slaughter of 85 priests and an entire city – the city of Nob, which included women and children (1 Samuel 21-22).
It all started with a half-truth, which is a whole lie (1 Samuel 22:10). The tongue of Doeg devised destruction, it sliced like a razor and was responsible for the death of many innocent people.
Doeg WAS a loving man – he loved evil (Psalm 52:4) and he loved all devouring words (Psalm 52:4).
David wrote this Psalm to declare Doeg’s downfall, his judgment, which was worse than physical death, it was eternal death, forever and ever.
How did it all happen?
With a simple lie. I believe Doeg wanted a promotion, he wanted to advance in the kingdom, he wanted to get in good with Saul (1 Samuel 21:7; 22:6-10). It’s a lesson for us – how we’re all susceptible to “little” lies about others, painting things in a different light, committing character assassination. We need the Lord to tame our tongue, we need to learn the danger of such dialogue from the tragedy of Doeg.
Psalm 52:7 (NKJV) “Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.”
God calls us to justice, humility, and integrity.
Let’s beware of any type of dishonesty, pride, or perversity.
Will I choose to delight the Lord, or be an abomination to Him?
Will I walk shamefully or with wisdom?
If we take heed to these “sermons in a sentence,” God will guide us all the way to heaven – what a beautiful promise…while the world, the flesh, and the devil point people to destruction…as their final destination.
The choice is ours.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.