When we think of Moses, we tend to remember his bravery and faith when confronting Pharaoh and the Egyptian army, but he had other good qualities as well. One of them was a combination of humility and generosity of spirit, which was illustrated in this passage. Obviously Moses was only a man, and even a man with his gifts couldn’t handle the burden of millions of people alone. During the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit didn't rest on every believer; instead, he only came upon certain people at certain times, mostly upon people chosen as leaders. So they chose seventy elders, and these men assembled with Moses and the Lord around the Tent of Meeting. Two men, however, were listed as elders but for some reason they missed the meeting. The Lord graciously put his Spirit on them just like he did on the other seventy.
I admire Joshua’s loyalty to his master, but Moses gently rebuked his protégé. What was his specific desire? “I wish that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!" Moses thoroughly enjoyed his intimate communion with his Lord, and because of this he wanted all God’s people to experience that personal relationship.
Fast forward about a thousand years to the Day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts chapter two. As the believers were assembled, the Holy Spirit came down and inhabited every one of them. People from all over Jerusalem came to see what was making the commotion, and Peter’s inspired sermon led 3,000 of them to receive Jesus as Messiah. Moses’ dream had come true.
Now I recognize that some sincere Christians out there teach that it’s possible to be saved and not have the Holy Spirit. Let me make a profound understatement in saying that I wholeheartedly disagree. Romans 8:9 plainly states that “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” Also Paul assured the Corinthian church (the most screwed-up and disobedient church in the N.T.) that “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." If you’re a believer in Christ, then the Spirit lives inside you. However, as someone quipped, “The Holy Spirit is resident, but is he President?” We’ll get into more details about our relationship with the Spirit in further readings.
What does this mean to me right now? This is what I meant before when I talked about the immanence of God. He is here, living inside you. As you continually “tune your radio,” he will make himself known to you. He wants to, I promise.
Holy Spirit, just as you breathed life back into Jesus’ dead body, I need you to breathe new life into me. Please.