Spiritual Jealousy
by Ken Barnes

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!”.
(Numbers 11:29 NLT)

I don’t know if you have noticed, but we can often get offended by how God does things and who God uses to do them.  Spiritual jealous is the worst of all kinds of jealousy.

The circumstance here is that Moses is directed to choose seventy elders to help him lead Israel.  The elders were to come to the Tabernacle, and God would place the Spirit that rested upon Moses on them (vs. 24-25).  Eldad and Medad were two of the seventy.  For some reason, they did not come out to Tabernacle like the other sixty-eight, yet the same Spirit that Moses had put on the others at the Tabernacle rested on Eldad and Medad in the camp.

There two implications from this story.  First, the special grace for ministry came from God and not Moses. It is effortless for followers to put their trust in their leaders who they can see, rather than God who they cannot see.  God was giving the elders an object lesson that their calling and sufficiency came from him.  The second implication is that God often uses people and methods that we might consider improper.  When Joshua heard the these two were prophesizing in the camp he said, “Moses, my master, make then stop” (v.28)!  Moses’ response in (v.29) was “Are you jealous for my sake?”

Have you ever labeled people rebels who were just exercising their freedom and spiritual initiative?  If you have, you may have unwittingly been resisting God’s purposes.  At the bottom of your resistance may have been some spiritual jealousy.



I worked for seventeen years as a missionary with Youth With A Mission.  My missionary work has taken me to Mexico, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Spain, and the Ukraine.I hold a Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Commonwealth University.  [email protected]

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