Tuesday of Pentecost – Numbers 11:24-30
24 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. 25 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.
26 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. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” 29 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!” 30 And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.
“Well, God does love stupid people.” It was a typical thing for my friend to say. One never really had to wonder where you stood with her, especially when it came to her estimation of your intelligence. Something foolish had been done, or better said, something worthy had not been done. There was no real excuse for it. But even if there had been an excuse for it, it would have hurt her all the same. That is the funny thing about excuses. They really do not make things better. Understanding why someone hurt me does not take the sting away.
My friend had reason to be angry and upset. In fact, she was angry and upset, but that was not all she was. She was also a prophetess. For she spoke God’s heart and word into this conflicted situation with coarse words rooted in baptismal authority. She was baptized; the Spirit of God had been given to her. Filled with that Spirit she was not only the aggrieved victim of another human being’s sinful stupidity. She was also a saint, a child of God, in whom the Lord Jesus dwelt by the inworking of the Holy Spirit. That meant she was a prophetess, speaking God’s word in this benighted world. Prophets, you must understand, do not only tell the future. More often they speak the truth of God about the present. That has implications for the future. Forgiven sinners have a very different future than unforgiven sinners.
Moses prays in this reading that all God’s people would be prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them. God has heard his prayer and answered it. Jesus authorizes all of us to speak God’s words of forgiveness and to know that forgiveness spoken here is spoken in heaven as well (Mt. 18:18 and Jn. 20:22-23) So be a prophet today. Forgive a sinner. Do not understand the foolish frailty of your spouse, parent, child, or neighbor. Be a prophet instead. Forgive it.
Rev. Phillip Brandt, MDiv, PhD
Join us also this morning for the ON GOING study of Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi – 9:30 am coffee and fellowship, study starts at 10:00 am. Contact me if you need the WebEx lin.
He is Risen!