First Reading: Numbers 11:25-29
The Spirit of God
25 YHWH came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was on him, and put it on the seventy elders: and it happened that when the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did so no more. 26 But two men remained in the camp. The name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the Spirit rested on them; and they were of those who were written, but had not gone out to the Tent; and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran, and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!”
28 Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his chosen men, answered, “My lord Moses, forbid them!”
29 Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all YHWH’s people were prophets, that YHWH would put his Spirit on them!”
World English Bible
Sometimes mystery shrouds God's will. We expect God to act in a certain way only to be surprised. These can be times of insight or frustration.
This passage lies in the story of the grumbling Israelites who desired meat, not just manna. Addressing God, Moses lamented over their demands. God answered Moses' prayer by gathering the leaders and sending quail meat to the Israelites. But God afflicted the people for their greed with a plague. Hence, the place was called "Graves of Greed."
Moses could not lead the people alone. God used others as his instruments, including those not recognized as leaders [25-26]. The spirit of God gave the gift of prophecy, not the Israelite chain of command. That fact did not stop Joshua, Moses' right hand man, from objecting. But Moses sees clearly; who can tell God what to do? Moses, then, wished that all God's people had his Spirit, so all could share his intimacy and be his instruments [28-29]
There is old saying: God wants followers, not advisors. When God does not do what we want him to do, we might get angry at God; worse yet, we might be tempted to give up on God. When we are scandalized by God's will, is the source of scandal God or our desire to control God?
When was the last time you were tempted to get mad at God? What happened? How did you learn from your temptation?