The Seventy Elders

According to the Bureau of Standards in Washington, a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of 100 feet is composed of less than one glass of water. That amount of water is divided into about 60 billion tiny droplets. Yet when those minute particles settle over a city o … More


Many Christians today live their lives in a fog. They allow a cupful of problems to cloud their vision and dampen their spirit. Anxiety, turmoil and defeat strangle their thoughts. Moses had witnessed God’s power in spectacular miracles, yet at this time he questioned God’s ability to feed the wandering Israelites (vv. 21-22). If Moses doubted God’s power, how much easier it is for us to do the same. We see how the Lord helped Moses in a period of despair to solve two difficult problems:

  1. How to pastor so many people. (vv. 16,17) - God commanded Moses to select seventy godly elders to assist him in the spiritual leadership of the people. At the heart of every problem is the problem in the heart and unless people’s hearts are changed by the Lord, their conduct will never change. God gave these men the power of the Holy Spirit to assist Moses in his work. Taking the same Spirit which was upon Moses, God put it upon them. The immediate sign of the Spirit resting upon these seventy men was that they prophesied (v. 25).
  2. How to provide meat for all the people. (vv. 18-23, 31-35) - The Jews certainly weren’t going to slaughter their flocks because that would have left them destitute. Moses questioned God as to how he was going to provide meat every day for six hundred thousand grown men. He basically said, “just wathch me” (v. 23). By sending a strong wind, God brought quail right into their camp. The Jews spent two days and a night capturing and killing the birds (v. 32). When God wants to judge people, He lets them have their own way (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28). So, He gave them what they asked for, but He sent a plague along with it. The people began to devour the meat, happy that their craving was satisfied; then God’s judgment struck and many of them died (v. 33)


Many lives are being “choked by the cares of this world” (Luke 8:14). But “God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (II Tim. 1:7). Lord help me to not live in a fog.

Numbers 11:16-35 (English Standard Version)

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone. And say to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, "Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt." Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, "Why did we come out of Egypt?"'" But Moses said, "The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, 'I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!' Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?" And the LORD said to Moses, "Is the LORD's hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not." 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!" And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp. Then a wind from the LORD sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day's journey on this side and a day's journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground. And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck down the people with a very great plague. Therefore the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had the craving. From Kibroth-hattaavah the people journeyed to Hazeroth, and they remained at Hazeroth.

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