Numbers 11:27-29New King James Version (NKJV)
27 And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, forbid them!” 29 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!”
For a little while now I have been doing a study on Joshua. My first born is a Joshua and I know that God gave me specific direction to name him accordingly well before he even showed up. Therefore, when I don’t have a clue about his purpose and what lies ahead for his future….the Word of God can fill in some voids for me. One, is the fact that so often God reminded Joshua to “Be strong and of good courage.” Therefore, like Timothy, fear must have been something that Joshua dealt with. Another is the fact that even before Joshua became the leader of Israel, he was often in the Lord’s presence, both with and without Moses. There is no better place to be and he was witness to many leadership strategy sessions, discussions, worship….and God’s glory. It had to be awesome seeing what he saw and receiving what he received. I love to see this in the Word, because I trust and believe that it will have relevance in my son’s life as well.
So why this verse? Well along with the great things, comes lessons learned along the way. I could only imagine all that Joshua had access to; the knowledge and wisdom of God’s counsel as well as the heartbreaking murmurs of an ungrateful people. So when Moses smiled I’m sure Joshua did and when his heart was broken, I’m sure Joshua fumed. It is not strange then, when others started to prophesy (or speak by inspiration of a divine spirit in this case the Spirit of God), Joshua immediately assumed that Eldad and Medad were trying to usurp Moses’ authority and spread some message of their own. Therefore Joshua calls for immediate forbiddance (restriction; restraint, shutting-up) of their message and voice. Joshua was passionate about protecting Moses so much so he did not care what Eldad and Medad had to say or even who had them say it. He just wanted it squashed.
How often do we do the same, maybe on behalf of our Pastors or favorite ministers? Maybe it is our loved ones or it could even be our own voices and beliefs. If it does not come from these sources….it cannot possibly be right, wise or beneficial. Hmmmm; doesn’t quite sound right does it? Look at Moses’ wise response. “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.”
Moses got it!! But of course he would, he had a pressure on him that was so great. The very thought of God using others to share and spread God’s direction, purpose and vision was not only pleasing, but a relief to him. We should be excited when others are used by God to do anything, because ultimately it edifies the rest of the Body of Christ and it empowers and blesses the individual being used (God always blesses the vessel). Many people criticize our current Pastor and I used to be one of them years ago. However, the anointing on his life and the impact of his ministry is undeniable. It took maturity to get me to the point to not only change my mind about my pastor but to allow his ministry to impact my life as it has my son’s. Oh and did I mention the hundreds that give their lives to Christ every Sunday? Don’t be so quick to disregard other voices of those being used by God.
Now I know that many people that claim to be speaking for God are clearly not… and often it is readily apparent, but sometimes it is not so easy to see. The apostle, John, gives us more detailed direction on how to respond in 1 John 4:1:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that[a] Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God
Don’t let your passion keep you from receiving from God’s messengers/ministers.