Today’s verse is from Numbers 11:29. Here is the verse from three versions of the Bible.
But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them all!”(version NLT)
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! (version KJV)
But Moses said to him, Are you envious or jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them! (version AMPC)
This conversation is between Moses and Joshua. Joshua was his assistant. Moses found it cumbersome and frustrating to manage the Israelites in the wilderness. Although the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt and their conditions were miserable, they had forgotten their sufferings in Egypt. They started complaining about the wilderness and, they expressed a desire to get back to Egypt.
The number of Israelites who left Egypt could have been over two million. Since Moses required help to manage this lot of grumbling people, God had a strategy. The spirit of Moses was poured upon by God over seventy elders. But two men, Eldad and Medad were not with the other 68. Yet these two men started prophesying along with the other 68, even though they were still in the camp. A young man, who saw the two prophesying in the camp, rushed to inform Moses. Hearing this, Joshua got into the conversation and asked Moses to forbid them.
Hearing this, Moses asks Joshua directly if Joshua was jealous of Eldad and Medad as they were prophesying. Note for reasons well known to Moses, he had not included Joshua in the list of the seventy elders.
We later see that Joshua was eventually chosen to spy on the promised land. He was also given the responsibility of leading the Israelites on behalf of Moses to the promised land. Moses could directly speak and correct Joshua. Joshua would have made amends for his thinking and his actions after receiving the correction/ rebuke of Moses.
Whereas Aaron and Miriam, siblings of Moses, prophets, along with Moses with a calling to lead the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land, failed in their mission. Envy, jealousy, lack of a repentant heart, unwillingness to value and develop a relationship with God were some of their shortcomings. Without discernment, they lost their sons, became leprous, etc.
We are like all these people. Unless we value the Word of God, spend time in His presence, are open to correction/rebuke and willing to change, we can fall like Aaron or Miriam. Else, even after we fall, we can rise up like Joshua and have a victorious life fulfilling God’s purpose with our lives.