“Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, ‘Moses, my lord, stop them!’ But 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 11:28-29
Almost two weeks ago, I started the 90 day Bible in the NIV. I can’t recommend it enough. The writers have revised the text to read incredibly clearly and concisely – I’m retaining a lot more information than I expected! And I’m already nearing the end of the book of Numbers; a book that I have not yet read straight through until now.
The earliest books of the Bible are incredibly gripping, as the main characters all possess passionate intimacy with God Almighty. Moses, in particular, speaks with God in a nearness not seen anywhere else.
I’ve always considered Moses lucky to have had that unmatched favor with the Lord. However, in taking a closer look, I now feel the burden attached to glory. Many times, God only allowed Moses to enter His Presence. He was then given the charge of relaying the immortal messages to the Israelites; who, usually, grumbled in return. And once the grumbling reached God’s ears, He would vent of His wrath onto His favored one.
Eventually, Moses crumbled under the pressure; begging God to evenly distribute the wealth of responsibility and calling. God responded by commanding Moses to bring 70 of the most respected Israelite elders, that His spirit may come upon them too.
As this significant moment in history unfolded, Moses’ trusted aide Joshua sensed the shift. He begged Moses to stop the others from prophesying. Why? Because he understood Moses’ favor and couldn’t fathom the possibility of such nearness multiplied – that is, how could a multitude of people conceivably experience the same intimacy with God on so many different levels….simultaneously?
Moses responded, in a sense, with a prayer. He prayed that the Lord would put His spirit on all His people – that they all may experience both His voice and their newfound duty to obedience of what they’ve heard. And, incredibly, God answered that prayer many years later. Through the life and death of His son, Jesus Christ, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit received after salvation, Christians now carry the presence of God. We commune with Him in varying levels of intimacy; all at the same time.
And, like Joshua, we’re still in awe.