Summary: Pentecost 19(B) - SEPTEMBER 29, 2002 - Believers are to be jealous for God’s kingdom: not for human reasons but for divine purposes.
BE JEALOUS FOR GOD’S KINGDOM
NUMBERS 11:24-29 SEPTEMBER 29, 2002
24So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the Tent. 25Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the sev-enty elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again.
26However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27A young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."
28Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, "Moses, my lord, stop them!"
29But 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!"
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
As we listened to the text this morning, there is one word that stands out that reminds us of our sinful nature (besides the whole text). That word comes right at the end when Joshua wants Moses to stop the prophesying, and Moses says, ‘Are you jealous for my sake?’ Here’s that word, JEALOUS or JEALOUSY. We don’t think of that word as a very complimentary attribute, do we? We think of lusting after things, items, or objects that don’t belong to us. We’re jealous of other people because of their prestige, their possessions, honor, and glory. The list goes on and on. Yet we’re reminded that jealousy can be used in the right way. The Lord describes Himself as a jealous God. He reminds us that He is a jealous God because He does not want to give His praise to anyone else. He doesn’t want any idols to have His glory. He doesn’t want us to worship anything but Him with our heart, mind and soul.
This morning, our text reminds us that rather than be jealous about all of the wrong things for all of the wrong reasons, believers can be jealous when they are jealous for God’s kingdom. Jesus stated it another way; "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"(MATTHEW 6:33). He reminds us as believers in this world, that we are to focus on God and His kingdom. Our theme from our text this morning reminds us to be jealous for God’s kingdom.
BE JEALOUS FOR GOD’S KINGDOM
I. Not for human reasons
II. But for divine purposes
I. Not for human reasons
We come to the time in the history of the children of Israel when they are wandering the wilderness. Moses is leading them. It was the Lord God Almighty who provided for them day af-ter day, year after year. He was taking them and leading them to the land He had promised to their fathers. The Lord God was very generous in His providing for God’s people; they always had enough to eat and enough to drink. Yet, what happens? Generally we see God’s people, even though they are provided for, grumbling and complaining against what God has given them. Just before today’s text, it becomes so bad that Moses grumbles a bit against the Lord. He wonders. He wonders if they aren’t out on a trip too far from Egypt that the Lord can’t even provide for them. The people are grumbling. Moses grumbles against God too. God answers him. He says, ‘They will have food.’ Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said.
Our text begins: 24So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. They had grumbled against the Lord for providing them with manna. They wanted meat! So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Well, they’re going to have meat. They are going to have so much meat that they will grumble and complain that they have too much. It will become a stench even unto their nos-trils.’ The meat they would have would not last just for a week or two weeks, but for a whole month. We’re told in the words after our text that they were provided with quail, more than they could eat, more than they could even stand, because they had grumbled and complained.
The Lord told Moses that he was going to get help. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent, and the Lord came down from the cloud and spoke with Moses. The Lord took the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. Rather than all of the people complaining to Moses, the seventy elders would help. We’re told that the Lord came down, spoke to Moses at the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp. It was a holy place. He took the Spirit of God, not all of Moses’ spirit; it was the Spirit of God. We might think he would be diminished, but then he had God’s Spirit in him to give. We picture it as a light, a light that was in Moses, because the light came from God himself. As a candle is lit, and the next candle is lit, it gives more light, so with these seventy elders. What happens when the Spirit rested on them? They prophesied, but they did not do so again because prophesy from the Spirit of God was just a sign that they received the Spirit. They didn’t have that gift any longer. Something else also happened. Two men whose names were Eldad and Medad remained in the camp. They were among those seventy elders who were going to receive the Spirit, whether they were there at the tent of meeting, whether they were there in the camp, no matter where they were… of course, they were off by themselves. Those in the camp did not realize what was happening at the Tent of Meeting, we’re told in our text: A young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." It was causing quite a commotion. Joshua, son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since his youth, spoke up and said, "Moses, my lord, stop them!" He was concerned that this wasn’t right. Even though they were among the seventy elders, they weren’t there at the tent. He was concerned they might have been doing something that they ought not be doing. He was concerned they might be usurping Moses’ au-thority, or speaking against God Himself. 29But Moses replied, "Are you jealous for my sake? He asked Joshua, who was going to be the next leader, if he was concerned for the sake of Moses. Was he concerned that Moses wasn’t going to be in authority? Was he concerned for him or ought he be concerned for the kingdom? We’re going to see how he ought to be concerned for the kingdom.