[August 5]--The Spirit At Work: A Dream Come True

Numbers 11:16-17, 24-30

I was born an American citizen, and I’m very glad I was. I love this country, and believe it’s a force in the world more for good than the bad. Having said that, I have one major pet-peeve, and it’s woven into the very DNA of American culture.

What I’m referring to is the utmost disdain for leaders. I know it’s part of our heritage: This nation started out officially by thumbing its nose at the Mother Country and saying “You can’t tell US what to do!” Since then, we’ve had an ambivalent love-hate relationship with our leaders. To a degree, I understand it and even applaud it. We’re in a fallen world with fallen people, and there’s no leader I trust with absolute power other than my Lord.

The problem I have is the complete lack of respect we have for our leaders, and especially as this bleeds into our attitude in the church. Again, no leader is sinless. The church has to have checks and balances, which is why pastors have to have some type of body within the church that they answer to.

But I promise you, the vast majority of leaders in the church are there because they love God and love people. I assure you, they’re not in it for the money. If money was their primary concern, they’d find another profession. Of course, there are exceptions to this, as seen on TV.

So who appoints leaders? Well, every church has a different approach, but most are voted in by majority of members. There’s nothing wrong with that in particular, but I think it’s easy to forget to that strictly speaking, it’s the Spirit who’s doing this. It might be (and I hope) that he’s working through the choices of the congregation, but ultimately it’s the Spirit who appoints our leaders in the church. The way I've always understood it, the vote of a congregation should only be officially recognizing what the Spirit has already made clear he wants us to do.

Today’s passage gives us some more insight on the Spirit’s work in empowering leaders. If you’ve read the Torah, you know how frustrating Moses’ job was. In fact, if you just read the rest of this chapter without skipping the verses which I passed over, you’ll see just how bad it was. Moses was on his last nerve, and the Lord graciously intervened and said that he (God) would provide other leaders to share the load.

The Holy Spirit came down and filled the elders who had come. They prophesied in order to publicly authenticate their appointment. He equipped them with the skills, gifts, and talents they'd require to govern effectively. They'd need wisdom, discernment, courage, compassion, and a healthy fear of the God who held them accountable. All this was provided by the Spirit.

Then we see an epilogue to this story which wonderfully illustrates what type of man Moses was. There were two men who missed the meeting, and they received the anointing just like the rest did. They started prophesying like the others, and Joshua—always zealous for his master’s honor--tried to stop them. Moses instructed him to back down: “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!” This is a mark of true leadership, and it’s a sign of a Spirit-led man, that he’s willing to delegate power and loves to see others excel, even at the cost of some of his own prestige. He longed to see all God’s people experiencing what he experienced in the Lord’s presence. The wonderful thing is his wish came true. At Pentecost, Moses’ longing was fulfilled, and from that point forward, every single one of God’s redeemed children has the Holy Spirit placed upon them and within them.

You. Yes, you--sitting right there—you are Moses’ dream come true.

Father God, may I always show the proper respect to the leaders you’ve placed over me. When I’m called to lead, please give me a double-portion of your Spirit. Yes, I need it.

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