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Log Providence Missionary Baptist Church

Est. 1866

Rev. David P. Ballenger , Pastor

LPMBC Sunday School

Please join us on Sunday Morning at 9:45 to learn more about the word of God.


2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth".

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Lesson: Numbers 11:24-35; Time of Action: about1444 B.C.; Place of Action: Desert of Paran


Golden Text: “And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’S people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (Numbers 11:29)."


I. INTRODUCTION. This week’s lesson continues from last week’s titled “Complaints about Manna.” When that lesson ended, in reply to the people’s request for meat instead of the manna God had given them daily, the LORD told Moses that He would give them so much meat that it would come out of their nostrils. This week’s lesson shows that God does not lie, and very often He will give us what we ask for even though He knows we will regret it.

II. THE LESSON BACKGROUND. About a year after the Israelites left Egypt while they were still in the desert of Sinai, God told Moses to count the children of Israel by families along with their names who were twenty-one years old or older and able to go to war (see Numbers 1:1-3). In Numbers chapters 2-9, God gave instructions for the service that each group was to perform as well as instructions for the Passover. Since the tabernacle was completed, the LORD covered it with His cloud and whenever He took His cloud up from the tabernacle, that meant that the people were to continue their journey (see Numbers 9:15-23). Sometime later, on the twentieth day of the second month in the second year after leaving Egypt, God took up His cloud from off the tabernacle which indicated that it was time to continue their journey and they moved on to the wilderness of Paran (see Numbers 10:11-12). We are not told why, but for some reason, the people again complained displeasing the LORD who sent fire among them that consumed those who were on the outermost part of their campsite (see Numbers 11:1). And once again, the people cried out to Moses who prayed to the LORD. The LORD heard Moses and He stopped the fire and Moses named that place Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burnt among His people (see Numbers 11:2-3). Following that incident of complaining, the people once again complained that they were tired of the manna God was providing for them daily (see Numbers 11:4-6). When Moses overheard their complaint he turned to the LORD complaining himself that he couldn’t handle these people any longer and wanted the LORD to just kill him if things were going to continue as they had (see Numbers 11:10-15). But instead of killing Moses, God had a better plan. He commanded Moses to gather seventy respected elders in Israel and bring them to Him and He would give them some of Moses’ spirit so that they could help him govern the people (see Numbers 11:16-17). Then God told Moses to tell the people to sanctify themselves because the next day He would give them meat to eat. But there was a catch. God would give them so much that it would come out of their nostrils (see Numbers 11:18-20). Moses then showed his dwindling faith when he complained about the great number of Hebrews there were and how was God going to feed them all (see Numbers 11:21-22). God knew that Moses was questioning His power so He replied to him saying “Is the Lord’S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not” (see Numbers 11:23). This week’s lesson begins with verse 24

III. GOD’S SPIRIT ON THE SEVENTY ELDERS (Numbers 11:24-25)  

A. Moses presents the seventy elders to the LORD (Numbers 11:24). Our first verse says “And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.” In response to God’s command (see Numbers 11:16), Moses did just as he was told. “Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.” These were to be “men” whom “Moses” knew to be leaders and “officers (or officials) over” the people. He was to choose those whom he knew to be “elders,” that is, wise and experienced men. Men like the ones Moses’ father-in-law had earlier suggested he choose to help him in judging the people (see Exodus 18:14-25). It seems that it was important for “Moses” to be the one to choose these men since he would have to work directly with them. In addition, since they would be his choices, he would not have any reason to complain about them later. So “Moses” did his part by selecting the “elders” and bringing them before the LORD, around “the tabernacle.” In this place where the LORD manifested Himself, they would receive the grace of God, the same Spirit that was on “Moses” (see Numbers 11:17). As they assembled “round about the tabernacle,” the people would also be witnesses to their solemn call.

          B. God’s Spirit rests on the seventy elders (Numbers 11:25). This verse says “And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.” It was God’s practice to make His presence known to His people by a “cloud” (see Exodus 13:21; 16:10; 19:9; 34:5; Leviticus 16:2) just as He does here. Once Moses and “the seventy elders” were in place around the tabernacle, we are told that “the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders. When “the LORD came down in a cloud,” He gave His “Spirit” to “the seventy elders;” the same “Spirit” that was on Moses. Of course this refers to the “Holy Spirit” who, up to this point, had only empowered Moses for his calling. The phrase, God “took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders” sounds as if God was going to take some of His “spirit” from Moses and give it to “the seventy elders.” But that’s not the case. This does not mean that Moses would have less of the “Spirit” after God shared it with “the seventy elders;” nor does it mean that they would now be equal to Moses, for Moses still had no equal (see Deuteronomy 34:10). Instead, receiving God’s “Spirit” meant that these “elders” would possess the same “spirit” that would allow them to help Moses govern Israel without any desire to replace him or to take over. “When the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.” God’s “Spirit” enabled them to do and speak what proved that they were empowered by divine inspiration for “they prophesied, and did not cease.” The phrase “and did not cease” is translated in most bible translations as “but they did not do it again” indicating that their gift of prophesy was only temporary to assure the people that they were called as prophets to assist Moses. We are not told what “they prophesied” about, but they were probably praising God and declaring His will. In addition, their prophesying must’ve been encouraging and profitable because later Moses declared that he wished that all God’s people were prophets and had His “Spirit” on them as well (see Numbers 11:29). When Moses was sent to bring Israel out of Egypt, God appointed Aaron to be Moses’ prophet (see Exodus 7:1). But since that time, God had called Aaron to do other work as the nation’s high priest. Now, instead of Moses being the only prophet in the entire Israelite camp, he had “seventy” prophets to help him.

IV. GOD’S PROPHETS ELDAD AND MEDAD (Numbers 11:26-30)

 A. Eldad and Medad (Numbers 11:26-27).

1. (vs. 26). This verse says “But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.” Once the seventy elders assembled at the tabernacle with Moses and received God’s Holy Spirit empowering them to prophesy, the writer says here, “But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad.” The phrase “But there remained two of the men in the camp” reveals that “two of the men,” or “two” of the seventy elders, one named “Eldad” and the other “Medad” stayed “in the camp” instead of joining the others at the tabernacle. No reason is given for why they chose to stay “in the camp,” and they were not disciplined for not attending with the others. Yet, “the spirit rested upon them” and “they prophesied in the camp.” These two men still received the “Spirit” while “in the camp” just like the other sixty-eight who received the “Spirit” at the tabernacle. We may feel the need to accuse “Eldad” and “Medad” of disobeying God, and they may well have. But since the LORD didn’t have a problem with what they did, neither should we. The phrase “they were of them that were written” means that “Eldad” and “Medad” were listed, or registered among the seventy elders. Even though they “went not out unto the tabernacle,” with the others, they still demonstrated that they were God’s prophets, for they “prophesied in the camp.” There was no difference in their ability to prophesy and the ability of the other sixty-eight to prophesy. All seventy elders had the same prophetic spiritual gift and they all demonstrated it, only in different locations.

2. (vs. 27). This verse says “And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.” At some point when “Eldad and Medad” were prophesying “in the camp” among the people, “a young man” who is not identified, “ran…and told Moses” that “Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.” As already mentioned earlier (see comments on verse 5), up to now, Moses was considered the only prophet among the Israelites; so whoever this “young man” was that brought this information to “Moses,” he may have considered someone else prophesying to be very unusual. The text does not tell us why this “young man” hurried to “Moses” to tell on “Eldad and Medad,” but if he was anything like people today, he may have thought that when “Moses” heard about it he would be bothered and maybe even a bit jealous of any attention, if any at all, these two men may have been getting from the people “in the camp.” Unfortunately, some folk just love to start stuff!

B. Joshua’s protest against the prophesying of Eldad and Medad (Numbers 11:28). This verse says, “And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.” We don’t know for certain, but the phrase “one of his young men” most likely means that “Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses” was one of the seventy elders and was present with “Moses” when the young man came to report to him that Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the camp. Upon hearing that, Joshua said “My lord Moses, forbid them.” He wanted “Moses” to stop Eldad and Medad from prophesying in the camp. As Moses’ servant, “Joshua” referred to “Moses” as “lord” or master as a sign of respect. Undoubtedly, “Joshua” assumed that since these two men were selected among the seventy, they should have been at the tabernacle with them where they all would prophesy together. Therefore, “Joshua” thought that they should not prophesy at all, or at least come to the tabernacle and prophesy in unison with the other sixty-eight prophets. It does not appear that “Joshua” wanted them to be punished, but simply restrained from any future prophesying. In case someone feels that “Joshua” may have been wrong, remember that there is no reason to think that he had any hard feelings against Eldad and Medad. Maybe his motive for wanting them to stop prophesying apart from the other prophets was because he was honestly zealous about the calling that God had placed upon the seventy, and he wanted to insure that they were unified.

C. Moses’ response to Joshua (Numbers 11:29-30).

1. 1. (vs. 29). This verse says “And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!” Upon hearing Joshua’s request to stop Eldad and Medad from prophesying, Moses rejected his request and gently reproved Joshua saying “unto him, Enviest thou for my sake?” In other words, “Moses” was asking Joshua if he was envious or jealous of Eldad and Medad on Moses’ behalf. Since Joshua was Moses’ closest and most trusted friend, “Moses” surely knew that Joshua made his request out of a respect for him, and Joshua didn’t want to see him receive less honor by the actions of Eldad and Medad. But still “Moses” reproved Joshua because he knew that God had accepted Eldad and Medad among the seventy elders to be His prophets. Note: A lesson for us here is that we must not secretly be jealous or begrudge the gifts, graces, abilities and usefulness of others whom God has called to His service. Our zeal or eagerness for the LORD and His work should always be tempered with wisdom; “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (see James 1:20). We must not be quick to condemn and silence those who differ with us, as if they don’t follow Christ because they don’t follow us (see Mark 9:38). It’s not proper for us to reject those whom Jesus Christ has claimed as His own, or restrain them from doing good things because they don’t think the way we do. “Moses” had no intentions of silencing these two prophets and quenching the Spirit in them; so he also said to Joshua, “would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!” We should not think that with this statement “Moses” would have chosen for prophets anyone who was not qualified, or that he expected that the Spirit of prophecy would be given to everyone. What “Moses” does here is show the love and esteem he had for “all the LORD’S people,” wishing that “the LORD would put his spirit upon them” as well. In addition, Moses’ response shows how far he was from being displeased at Eldad and Medad’s prophesying in the camp instead of being with him and the other seventy at the tabernacle. “Moses” was secure in his calling and certainly, the last thing on his mind was being replaced by other prophets. We ought to be overjoyed when God is served and glorified, and good things are done in His name even though we might not get any credit at all. The Apostle Paul felt basically the same way that “Moses” did. Paul said that it didn’t matter to him who preached Jesus Christ or how they did it as long as He was preached; and he would still rejoice in it (see Philippians 1:17-18). Note: We cannot help but commend Joshua for how devoted he was to “Moses.” However, there is a great danger in being so devoted and committed to someone that we take our eyes off the LORD. Unfortunately, mankind wants to be led astray (see Proverbs 28:10; Isaiah 53:6), and it is often done by their leaders, both spiritual and political (see Jeremiah 50:6). But God will lead us into righteousness and right living which is the only behavior that will cause us to see the futility in following and being blindly devoted to a human being, even treating them as if they were gods. Many Christians tend to follow evil men simply because they have the same politics and think that it’s okay; but it’s not okay, for wisdom says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death“ (see Proverbs 16:25). As believers, we must accept the same challenge Joshua issued to Israel: “…choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (see Joshua 24:15).

2. (vs. 30). This verse says “And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel.” After his response to Joshua, “Moses gat” or returned to the Israelite “camp” with the newly ordained “elders of Israel.” Now that their calling as prophets and helpers to “Moses” was sufficiently confirmed by their prophesying, “the elders” went with “Moses into the camp” where they most likely prepared themselves to assist “Moses” in conducting the business of the people. Note: It appears that now “Moses” was pleased that he had so many others to share his work and honor with him. He is a good example for those who are leaders or hold positions of power, whether on the job, in the church or in the government. Like “Moses,” good leaders realize and accept the fact that leading others can be a burden and a hardship. But it is only a burden to those who consciously want to serve. In addition, leaders must be willing to desire, accept, and not despise the advice and assistance of others. They should be thankful for it, and not try to covet or monopolize wisdom and power; for “in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (see Proverbs 11:14; 24:6; 15:22).

GOD SENDS QUAIL AND A PLAGUE (Numbers 11:31-35)

  A. The quail (Numbers 11:31). This verse says “And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.” Earlier, God had promised Moses that He would give the people flesh or meat to eat since they were tired of the manna (see Numbers 11:6, 18-20). That time had come. God had kept His promise to Moses by giving him helpers to govern the people, and now He also kept His promise to the people by giving them flesh to eat as proof that He not only has power over humanity, but He has power and dominion over the animal kingdom as well. God sent “a wind” apparently from the south-east (see Psalms 78:26) and “brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp.” The psalmist referred to the “quails” as “feathered fowl” (see Psalms 78:27). God provided so many “quails” that they could be seen for miles, or “as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp.” The “quail” fell all around “the camp” about “a day’s journey” or about 12 to 15 miles (the number of miles a Jew could walk in a day) on each side of “the camp.” In addition, so many “quail” fell that they piled up “as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.” This means that when the “quail” fell to the ground, they were at least three feet high.

B. The plague (Numbers 11:32-33).

1. (vs. 32). This verse says “And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.” Here we see just how greedy the people were for this flesh that God had sent them. We are told that “the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails.” In other words, they spent two days and a night gathering meat that they believed would satisfy their appetite, but they didn’t remember that Moses warned them that they would regret asking for the flesh (see Numbers 11:18-20). They were so greedy that “he that gathered least gathered ten homers.” This means that the person who “gathered” or collected the “least” or fewest “quail” still “gathered ten homers” or about 60 bushels. There was so much meat that what the people couldn’t eat right away, “they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.” In other words, following an Egyptian way of preserving fish and fowl, the people “spread” or set the “quails” they were not able to eat right away in the sun to dry out and be salted and eaten later. Just as God had promised, He gave them meat to eat for a month (see Numbers 11:19).

2. (vs. 33). This verse says “And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.” As the people were enjoying God’s feast of promised meat, “And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people.” No sooner than the people began to chew the meat that God in His mercy provided for them, a time of judgment had also arrived; for “the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.” When the people despised the manna that God had provided, they were also despising Him (see Numbers 11:4-6). Just because God does not punish us for our sin right away does not mean that we have gotten away with it. At some point while they were still eating the meat, God’s anger “was kindled” or became very hot “against the people” and He “smote the people with a very great plague.” The text does not describe what kind of “plague” this was, but we do know that it resulted in the death of many of them, probably including the “mixt multitude” who instigated the whole rebellion (see Numbers 11:4). Note: The lesson here is that sometimes God will give us what we ask for in love and mercy. But if what we ask for is not in God’s direct will, even if He gives it to us it will in some way or another bring grief to us. Here, we see that God, showing mercy satisfied the people first, and then He judged them “with a very great plague.” Let’s not forget; these were God’s chosen people just like we are (see John 15:16; Ephesians 1:3-7). They sinned against God and there is no evidence that they confessed and repented. Therefore, they suffered the consequences. Of course, there is no guarantee that confession and repentance will result in God removing His punishment from us. But this lesson indicates that if we don’t confess our sin and repent, God’s punishment is guaranteed.

C. A new burial ground (Numbers 11:34-35).

1. (vs. 34). This verse says “And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.” Following God’s judgment upon His people, Moses “called the name of that place” meaning their encampment, “Kibrothhattaavah,” which can mean either “graves of lusters” or “graves of lust or greed.” The strong lust or greed that the people had for flesh, caused them to complain against God which led to many deaths among the Israelites. Moses gave this encampment “the name” “Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.” This name was really a warning to remind God’s people of what can happen when their desires and lusts for stuff replace their desire for the LORD and what He can provide. Unfortunately, the name of this campsite didn’t have the desired effect, for when the Psalmist spoke about this incident (see Psalms 78:23-31), he said “For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works” (see Psalms 78:32). For some reason, maybe because of sin, people hardly ever learn God’s lessons.

               2. (vs. 35). This verse says “And the people journeyed from Kibrothhattaavah unto Hazeroth; and abode at Hazeroth.” God didn’t let His rebellious people prevent Him from keeping His promise to take them to the Promised Land. Even after the way they treated Him, He would still continue to lead them, so they packed up “And the people journeyed from Kibrothhattaavah unto Hazeroth; and abode at Hazeroth.” Both of these locations were in the wilderness of Paran where the Israelites were encamped. As they continued on their way to Canaan, the Israelites left “Kibrothhattaavah,” which now contained the graves of many who despised God and His manna and lusted after flesh, and they came to “Hazeroth” and “abode” or spent some time there.

VI. Conclusion.

The Israelites didn’t know how good they had it with Moses as their God appointed leader. They gave him grief for almost the entire forty years of being in the wilderness. Finally he had had enough and wanted God to kill him (see Numbers 11:14-15). This leader had led them out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, judged cases among the people, gave them the laws from God Himself and even interceded for them when they erred. It’s very difficult to find leadership like that today. But if your church is blessed to have a pastor who faithfully leads your congregation with sound doctrine from God’s Word, while directing your efforts to reach out to the lost and serve the needs of people both inside and outside of your church, I encourage you to avoid making his or her life miserable by complaining about selfish and petty issues like Israel did. Believe me; God will not overlook that kind of complaining. He didn’t overlook it for the Israelites and many of them paid for it with their lives. The same thing could happen in your church.

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