Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Scripture for the Day: Numbers 11:24-30

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, “My lord Moses, stop them!” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!” And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

This text comes in the middle of a chapter that is all about the people complaining to Moses about the food and Moses complaining to God about the burden of leading these people. The people want meat rather than manna. At their hangriest (hanger: anger caused by hunger), the people remember the diversity of foods they had back in Egypt. Moses says the number of people with them is 600,000. I think it is pretty fair for him to be overwhelmed and complain to God. God hears and responds to Moses, telling him to gather the elders of the people, those who are leaders in the community.

God’s spirit comes to the elders of the community, with the rationale given that “I will take some of the spirit that is on you and put it on them; and they shall bear the burden of the people along with you so that you will not bear it all by yourself.” When Moses shares with God that taking care of these people has become too much for him, God listens. God hears Moses and brings in others to support him. God understands and wants us to be mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually healthy.

This is a tough season. We have been and continue to adjust to living in new ways. We don’t get to participate in the same social outings; we don’t get a night out away from the kids; we don’t have sleepovers with our friends; we don’t get to watch our favorite teams together. In this story from Numbers, God pours out the spirit on the leaders of the community to spread the burden. This past Sunday, we were reminded that at Pentecost all those years ago, God’s Spirit has been poured on all flesh. With the Spirit, we can all share the burdens of this season. On those days that you are feeling like it is too much, let a friend or one of the pastors know and pray together. On those days that you feel like you can carry someone else’s burden, reach out to someone who is on your heart. We are in this together. I thank God for this community that has worked so well to remain connected this season through the power of the Holy Spirit. And I pray that we will continue to lift each other up and support one another as we are able. Amen.

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