Numbers 11:29 - All the LORD'S People Receive His Spirit
But Moses replied ... 'I wish that all the LORD'S people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them'.Numbers 11:29
We believe that anyone who has faith in God and trusts in his promises has been given this through the power of the Holy Spirit. Whether it's us in our time, or God's people 2,400 years ago in the time of Moses, we are all sinners and no sinner has ever chosen on his own to live in faith.
While all believers have enjoyed this faith-giving work of the Holy Spirit, there is another way in which he is present in the lives of God's people. It's this that is different for us today than it was during the Old Testament. Some people then had the Spirit in the way we do, just not everyone. Moses was one of those who had received the Spirit of God in this special way.
The Holy Spirit was given to men who were called for special service. Through his presence especially in the prophets, priests, and kings, these office bearers were equipped for the work that God called them to do.
Moses found the work of leading all those thousands of Israelites, especially with their rebellious attitude, to be too much. Seventy of the elders of Israel were appointed to assist him. To equip these men with what they needed for this work, God took from the Spirit whom he had given to Moses and God gave him to the elders as well.
All the office bearers of God's people have been given this gift, even the greatest office bearer, Jesus Christ. When it was time for the Lord to begin his ministry, he was baptized by John and anointed by his Father with the Holy Spirit. In his humanity, he too needed to be strengthened for the work that he had been sent to do, including the work of going to the cross to bear the penalty of God against our sin. It was through the Holy Spirit's presence in his life that he was given this strength. In Matthew 12, when the Pharisees accused him of driving out demons by the power of Satan, the Lord said that his work was done by the power of the Spirit of God.
Through the faith that the Holy Spirit gives us, we are united with Christ so that we share in his saving work. However, as his people we share in his other work as well. Before he left the earth, he told his disciples that he was sending both them and the whole church into the world to continue what he had begun.
In Lord's Day 12 we confess that as Christians we share in his anointing, so that with him each one of us is also a prophet, priest, and king. This makes us different from God's people in the Old Testament. Today we are all office bearers, and each one of us has a part in the special work that only some did in the past.
Since we are all called to this service, we are also promised the Holy Spirit's special presence in our lives. Just as God took the Spirit who was on Moses and shared him with the seventy elders, so today he takes the Spirit of his Son and he shares him with all who believe in Christ. This was exactly what Moses hoped for. It was what God repeatedly promised his people through the prophets.
Pentecost was the beginning of the church's work to carry on what the Lord left for us to do. That work hasn't been finished yet, so we have a responsibility to continue being prophets who share the good news, priests who give praise to God, and kings who fight against sin.
We shouldn't be afraid of speaking about what we believe. We often feel quite inadequate, but remember the promise that has also been given to you. The Spirit equips us all with whatever we need, and he works through the testimony that we give. What we say has power because it's used by the Spirit to give people faith.
We can be joyful because in our special calling and task we are promised everything that we need through the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives. If we listen as he teaches and leads us through the Word of God, then we will be able to do all that the Lord calls us to do.