Burden of Leadership

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them 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 as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it.

Now 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 the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, 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, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Numbers 11:24-29

When the people got tired of manna, they complained for want of meat. Moses was so tired of the complaining , he asked God to kill him. It is a hard thing to be the go-to guy for every problem a million or so people have. Even though there is a steady supply of food falling from the sky, in the middle of nowhere, the people complain.

Is a miraculous God just not enough? Would you still rather be slaves in Egypt? This is the juxtaposition of sinful man and a holy God. Ingratitude and rejection of God begets suffering and death.

God offers to take some of the spirit given to Moses and impart it to the 70 elders, so they can help Moses bear the burden of leadership. And people complain about that! We would do well to be grateful without complaining, for it is God who supplies all our need.

The Silver Trumpets

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Make two silver trumpets. Of hammered work you shall make them, and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for breaking camp. And when both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the entrance of the tent of meeting. But if they blow only one, then the chiefs, the heads of the tribes of Israel, shall gather themselves to you. When you blow an alarm, the camps that are on the east side shall set out. And when you blow an alarm the second time, the camps that are on the south side shall set out. An alarm is to be blown whenever they are to set out. But when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow a long blast, but you shall not sound an alarm. And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets. The trumpets shall be to you for a perpetual statute throughout your generations. And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the Lord your God.” Numbers 10:1-10

The trumpets served four purposes. They were blown to summon the people, to summon the chiefs, to celebrate the offering, and to sound the alarm. When the alarm was sounded, it was so they would go to war against the enemy that oppresses them.

We don’t use silver trumpets anymore, but we still summon the people to worship. We summon leaders for staff meetings, and we call people to celebrate the sacrifice for our sins: Jesus. But we have become a peacetime army, taking no new ground, leaving the enemy alone. But he does not leave us alone.

Today we are oppressed, but we don’t really know it. If we are not obeying God anyway, how can we tell if we are being discouraged from obeying? Today we are oppressed because we are afraid to share the gospel and challenge a culture that knows not God. We are oppressed by busyness and the cares of this life that make us unfruitful. Sound the alarm!!