Remembering the Passover & Exodus: a selection of passages & meditations
"Would that all the LORD's people
were prophets, that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!"

Scripture: Numbers 11:4-30

4 Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving; and the people of Israel also wept again, and said, "O that we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at."

7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. 8 The people went about and gathered it, and ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, and boiled it in pots, and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. 9 When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it.

10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, every man at the door of his tent; and the anger of the LORD blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased. 11 Moses said to the LORD, "Why hast thou dealt ill with thy servant? And why have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou dost lay the burden of all this people upon me? 12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I bring them forth, that thou shouldst say to me, `Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries the sucking child, to the land which thou didst swear to give their fathers?' 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, `Give us meat, that we may eat.' 14 I am not able to carry all this people alone, the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If thou wilt deal thus with me, kill me at once, if I find favor in thy sight, that I may not see my wretchedness."

16 And the LORD said to Moses, "Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit which is upon you and put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.

18 And say to the people, `Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, "Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt." Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. 19 You shall not eat one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you, and have wept before him, saying, "Why did we come forth out of Egypt?"'"

21 But Moses said, "The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot; and thou hast said, `I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!' 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to suffice them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?"

23 And the LORD said to Moses, "Is the LORD's hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not." 24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD; and he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and placed them round about the tent. 25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more.

26 Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested upon them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."

28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, forbid them." 29 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 upon them!" 30 And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Meditation: The people of Israel murmured in the wilderness because they grew tired of the manna which God provided for them each day. "Our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at." Their complaint sprang not from need but from discontentment. Don't we do the same? We want what we do not have and we complain if we do not get it. God gives us manna, spiritual food from heaven to nourish us on our journey, and we complain if we do not get more. Do you find satisfaction in God and do you trust in his provision for you?

When Moses complained to the Lord that the burden of governing this people was too much for him, God responded with the outpouring of his Spirit upon the seventy elders appointed for governing the people. Seventy is the number signifying sufficiency or completeness.

In response to the rebellion of the rabble, God pours out his Spirit to bring the reign of God among the people and points to the prophetic role of all God's people in the age of grace (Joel 2:28-29; Acts 1:8). Do you allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with his power and to open your ears to the word of God?

"Lord Jesus Christ, you feed us with the word of life and with the bread of heaven. Free me from discontentment and fill me with gratitude for your all-sufficient grace and gifts. May I live and walk in the power of your Holy Spirit and not gratify the desires of the flesh which war against the Spirit (Galatians 6)." 


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(c) 1999, 2001, 2002 Don Schwager