Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Joshua's Concern & Moses' Dream--Numbers 11

Joshua—A Mentored Man—Pt. 2—Joshua’s Concern and Moses’ Dream

I remember a time from my childhood when I lived in southern California. We lived on a little circle that had a lot of boys. And like a lot of boys, they occasionally got in fights. Even with their next door neighbors. On one occasion, I was in a fight with my next door neighbor, Steve. He was a year older than me, and at that age, it made a lot of difference, so I didn’t have much of a chance.

Thankfully, my brother was there and came to my aid. He, being 4 years older than me, had an advantage over Steve. Well, then Steve’s brother came running out… you can see how this situation escalated.

I was glad that someone came to my defense. Normally, as with most brother relationships—we fought with each other—but when someone else, not of the family tries something, the usual combatants become a united front. In that moment, it would have taken more effort on my brother not to run to my defense than to intervene. We have a wired in mentality to protect the ones we love and care for. It is perfectly natural to come to someone’s aid, physically and publicly.

We get to see that natural tendency today in the life of Joshua. If you remember from last week, we learned that:

Joshua looked up to his mentor Moses; he was Joshua’s example, his leader and his friend for over 40 years. Last week we talked about how Joshua learned that:

The Battle Belongs to the Lord--Without God, the best army or strategy could not defeat the enemy. Joshua saw Moses’ hands raised when they were winning and lowered when they were losing.

Passion for Righteousness—when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the 10 Commandments, he saw the people of Israel combining idolatry and adultery in one big party. Joshua got to see Moses’ passion for righteousness and chose to follow God

Joshua also grew in his Passion for God’s Presence by being mentored by Moses. And we saw that when Moses left the Tent of Meeting, Joshua was the one who stayed behind in order to be as close to the Presence of God as Possible.

Moses was Joshua’s Mentor. He looked up to Moses. But this week we’ll see that that this caused a problem for Joshua, one that needed correcting.

Numb 11:16-17, 24-30

Let me set this up for you a bit. Moses is overwhelmed with the number of Israelites he is leading, upwards of 2 Million people. They complained about everything--for food, for meat and water and Moses doesn’t know how to provide it. But he goes to the right place.

16-17, 24-25—God told him to bring the 70 elders to the Tent of Meeting so the Spirit of God will fill them and take the burden off Moses.

They did prophesy, but as we read in v. 25—“they did not do so again”, so it only happened once.

They prophesied only once, but they continued to minister to the people as the Spirit enabled them--

But during that event, something unexpected happened in v. 26 that disturbed Joshua. READ 26-28

Joshua hears of these 2 in the camp and sees others filled with the Spirit and tries to stick up for and defend Moses, just like any good brother.

I’m sure that Joshua wanted to keep the proclamation of God’s Word orderly and proper, but also to protect his mentor, his leader, his friend—to keep everyone looking to Him b/c of his special relationship with God. Joshua had already seen people complain about his leadership and where he’d taken them, he had seen them look for other leaders and some had even challenged Moses’ right to lead, these challengers wanted the position for themselves.

“Moses, my lord, stop them!” Don’t let these things go on, they are out of order—as he stands there holding his copy of Robert’s Rules of Order. You Moses, are supposed to be the person the people look to for prophecy from God. If these men keep this up they may look to them instead of you.

But in v. 29 we get to see Joshua learn something else about his mentor, what it means to have a true relationship with God and what it means to be a good leader. READ 29-30

Moses says, “NO, I’m not going to stop them.” Moses sees Joshua’s concern to defend his leadership and asks, “you aren’t jealous for me are you, Joshua? Do you think I’m threatened by them prophesying? Do you think I am weakened in the eyes of the people?”

Joshua thought Moses was weakened by this display, but Moses wasn’t worried about it—he knew people fully led by God were his greatest help. What’s more, Moses authority in leadership did not come from Public approval but from God’s approval. God’s approval matters most Moses was confident in God’s call, His approval, His authority

People living, serving and using their gifts for God’s glory is a Thrill for me as your pastor to see. Little excites me more than God at work in your life—when God lays something on your heart, when you are bringing ideas of service and ministry, when you are testifying to conversations with friends or family, or when you have the privilege of leading someone to Christ. When was the last time you were excited about something God was doing in you, or through you that you just couldn’t wait to tell someone in the church? We need more of that Don’t We—Amen?

Moses was not threatened or worried about his role or his position b/c it never depended upon his education, not about experience, not about the ability to speak, not about being the tallest, the shortest or anything else.

This was a demonstration of Moses’ closeness to God. Moses showed Joshua that he didn’t want to keep God all to himself; instead, he wished that everyone would have as close a relationship to God as he had.

“I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit on them!”

I am thankful that Moses was not willing to accept Joshua’s protection from competition. Instead Joshua was able to see that Moses didn’t want to keep a close relationship with God to himself, but desired that all the people shared that same blessing. Joshua saw the passion of Moses, but also his humility in leadership.

Joshua learned that the more that are following the LORD the better in Moses’ eyes. Moses knew that a people that are led by the Spirit of God are more manageable than one person led by their passions and lusts.

Remember The circumstances were that the people were complaining about not having meat to eat—and how they were better off back in Egypt—anybody want to guess what these 70 elders were prophesying about? Stop Complaining—Stop Insulting the God who delivered you and provides all you need. Sometimes you need to hear the message from somebody else—sometimes you tune out the one who has been saying the same thing for a long time.

I love the thought that Moses wanted everyone to be filled with the Spirit of God. He wanted them to have that close relationship with God,

He wanted all of them to know God as he did, to be able to hear the voice of their Shepherd and recognize it and follow it—to allow their lives to be used of God for His glory—to embody His Name, to use His gifts and His power—to display the Fruit of the Spirit for the world to see..

This is my heart for each of you as well—when you are used in powerful ways by God! It is my prayer for you!

The Thrill for a Pastor

People growing, living, and using their gifts for God’s glory

People led by God serving one another

People led by God being bold witnesses for Jesus

But there is a problem—not everyone, not all of the people received the Spirit—and the Spirit of God did not remain forever on someone. Only 70 received the Spirit out of hundreds of thousands. The Spirit was not upon everyone.

In the OT, the Spirit did not permanently dwell in or rest on someone. The Holy Spirit came for shorter periods of time and then would be taken away.

Like Samson, who was given strength by God so long as he did not cut his hair (which was a sign of his commitment to God)

Why did the HS not fill Everyone? Why not remain in the hearts of God’s Chosen People?

Because their sin had not been atoned for. Sin still had a hold on them—sin reigned in their mortal bodies. Their hearts were not suitable, permanent dwelling places for the Holy Spirit—no one’s is until they are washed by the Blood of Jesus.

See, Moses, Joshua and those in the OT did not have the blessing we do today as believers. Moses did not get to witness the desire of his heart: that all the people would be permanently filled with the Spirit of God.

That dream was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. 50 days after Easter Sunday. It is a day that witnessed the birth of the Church, because this was the day the Counselor and Comforter that Jesus promised—the Holy Spirit— came to Permanently dwell within all believers.

Turn to Acts 2:1-4, 6b, 11b, 38-41

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

Draws us to Christ

Opens up the meaning of Word of God

Helps you Resist Temptation

Convicts of Sin and Calls to Repentance

Makes you More Like Jesus by growing the Fruit of the Spirit in your life

Prays with You and for You

Reveals the Will of God to You

Is not just About you nor just For you

Gifts to Strengthen the Church Ephesians 4:11-13--It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Prepare for Works of Service, Build up the Body of Christ, Grow us into Unity as believers

Fulfills Jesus’ Promise of the Counselor

Fulfills Jesus’ Promise of Power

Provides Confirmation that their Sins are Forgiven

Provides Power to be His Witnesses (Acts 1:8) and to Add to their Number

Had Moses been alive, he would have witnessed the desire he expressed to Joshua, this desire that the Spirit of God fill every believer. Do you realize that we live in the day he was looking forward to? That you, as a disciple of Christ, with the Holy Spirit inside thrills him in eternity.

We live in a day when everyone who puts their faith in Christ is filled with the Spirit of God—not just a few. From the moment you put your faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence. That doesn’t mean you have jump up and immediately start prophesying or speaking in tongues, it does mean that you begin a new life with the Power and Presence of God right here, in your hearts.

Why are we not changed? What is stopping you? What is stopping me? Are we afraid of God really taking control of us? That we will be ridiculed or seen as fools? What is wrong with being bold for Jesus Christ? What is wrong with being a fool in the eyes of the world, but being pleasing in the sight of God?

The Spirit of God is a fulfilled promise—His presence also means you have a responsibility to live in that power—to fulfill your calling, to use your gifts to strengthen the body of Christ.

And you don’t have to worry about the Holy Spirit ever being taken away.

As Ephesians 1:13-14—“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

The Holy Spirit is an Unbreakable Seal, a Deposit that guarantees our inheritance with God. He cannot and will not be removed because the guarantee is based on the Promise of God not on your behavior. You have accepted and applied the Promise to your life—He will uphold it. You have been changed and made into a New Creation that cannot revert back to the old creation—that reality should not give us excuse to sin it up—but to really live and die in this world with supreme confidence of God’s Love. Our security in Him should inspire us to greater acts of faithfulness!

Here’s the catch that comes with the Presence of the Holy Spirit that most of us never realize. We no longer have any excuses. We don’t have any more excuse

For Keeping God at a Distance—because He is permanently in our hearts.

For giving in to temptation—because the Word promises He will strengthen us and give us a way out of temptation

For being afraid & unwilling to be bold witnesses—when it comes to witnessing be wise, look for opportunities—you don’t have to be obnoxious or talk of nothing else, but by no means use fear as an excuse—you have the Presence and the Power of Almighty God—Creator of the Universe in your life—what can harm you—who’s opinion matters?

All we can say now is that “I didn’t allow the Spirit to lead me. I chose not to take the way out the Spirit provided for me from that sin yesterday. I chose to live by the flesh and the sin nature instead of choosing to Live by the Power of the Spirit that is within me.” I chose to be afraid of this person laughing at me, rejecting me—acting like this person was more powerful than God—rather than being a bold witness for Christ.

In Christ, WE NO LONGER LIVE IN A WORLD OF EXCUSES! Because Jesus Christ is more powerful than your upbringing, abuse, socio-economic status, or mental disability, more powerful than any desire, attraction—more powerful than what your parents did or didn’t do, more powerful than how some guy or girl hurt you, more powerful than any drug or alcohol, more powerful than any of the excuses we hear so often today.

For the rest of the world, those apart from Christ—those excuses are valid—because they have no power to overcome them—not so for you in Christ. The only reason we have for not fulfilling the Will of God in our lives is our choices!

Romans 8:9-12—“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. RO 8:12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16

We don’t have to be a slave again to fear—fear of going back to Egypt—dead in our sins, Fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, messing up so bad that God won’t love you anymore—in Christ, you are a child of God

Romans 8:16—“ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ”—You will never be written out of

Did you catch that? The very thing that Joshua was upset about was the very thing that Moses’ words were anticipating and was the very thing fulfilled by the Holy Spirit.

And because of that Day of Pentecost, we don’t have to be afraid, we don’t have to give in to sin. Instead we can have a close, personal, intimate and passionate relationship with God. The kind that is even closer than Moses had, because even though he could go oto the Mountain of God and into the Tent of Meeting, he still had to go somewhere else to meet with God.

Listen to me, you don’t have to go anywhere to meet with God. He is HERE within our hearts for All who have put their faith in Christ asked Him into their life, to forgive their sin.

God desires that all His people are filled with the Spirit of God—it can start for you right now. It needs to start in the life of someone you know by You being a bold witness for your Savior.


David said...

I remember doing that, Kelly. I would still come to your aid if you ever need me. Love you, brother.

Kelly Reed said...

I still appreciate it too! Thanks for doing that for me. I would stand and defend you too in more ways than you may believe.

I love you.