QUESTION: I found a note in my Dad's Bible, after he died, where he had written Numbers 11? He did not include the verse number, so in general, what are your thoughts about this chapter?
COMMENT: There's a lot in Chapter 11 of the Book of Numbers. I think generally it's about how challenging it can be to follow our spiritual guidance in the face of human needs and emotions. The Israelites have followed Moses into the wilderness, and they are being sustained by the manna that appears on the ground every morning. They are also complaining bitterly about the variety of foods they left behind in Egypt. They're sick of manna; they want meat.
Metaphysically, we understand those complaining Israelites to represent thoughts in our own consciousness. We often follow spiritual guidance, step forward in faith—but still have to wrestle with thoughts of the life we left behind, wondering if we should have stayed within the comfortable limitations we had known.
The aspect of this chapter I most relate to concerns Moses' growing frustration at being the focal point for all this unhappy, complaining energy. He is guided to designate 70 men from the tribe as elders, to share responsibility, and to invite them to the tent of meeting. Several of these men indignantly report that two men—Eldad and Medad—who were not included among the 70 are nonetheless “prophesying” in the camp. They want Moses to make them stop, but Moses replies, “Would that all the Lord's people were prophets!” In other words, if anyone wants some of this power, be my guest! We needn't be jealous of our relationship to the Lord. We are all one in the energy of the Christ, and we are to welcome anyone who is sincerely expressing that energy—whether or not they are technically qualified.