How do you deal with stress? If you watch the video above, you’ll see one way NOT to deal with stress.
But there is a better way.
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INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Numbers 12. On the heels of dealing with the Israelites’ complaints followed by an refreshing encounter with the Holy Spirit, Moses was forced to deal with insurrection from his sister Miriam and brother Aaron.
Moses’ wife was a Cushite, meaning she was probably Ethiopian. This was his second wife because we know that his first wife Zipporah was a Midianite (see Exodus 2:16-21). Scholars aren’t sure why the nationality of Moses’ wife served as an excuse to question his authority.
The takeaway for all of us in this chapter is to treat the authorities God has placed over us with respect.
Numbers 13. This account where the 12 men spy out the land and 10 return with a negative report is fairly well-known. But something struck the other day about the claims of the 10 men. They asserted that the land was filled with giants, which they called “Nephilim.” Strangely enough, when the Israelites returned 40 years later, the Nephilim were nowhere to be found. Something tells me that the 10 men exaggerated their claim. I don’t think they made it up, but fear can cause us to blow things out of proportion.
The giants we often fear usually don’t even exist.
Mark 14:32-42. Imagine the pressure Jesus must have felt in the garden of Gethsemane, In a few hours he would be hung on a cross to die. This account gives us a window into Jesus’ humanness. In verse 36 he prayed, “Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus didn’t want to go to the cross. He didn’t want to suffer the pain and humiliation. Yet he chose to lay down his will to die for you and me.
Then after he finishes praying, he returns to his disciples to find them asleep. Jesus truly walked to the cross alone.
Proverbs 11:2. “With humility comes wisdom.” This is one more example from Scripture that humility may be the most important virtue of all.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
My favorite overlooked story in the Bible comes from today’s reading, Numbers 11:16-30. Moses was feeling burned out from dealing with a nation of complainers. He was also feeling burned out from singularly carrying the load of leading a country of over a million people.
So God told Moses to round up 70 elders who would help him lead the nation. Sixty-eight showed up, but most importantly the Holy Spirit showed up.
Suddenly, all the elders began prophesying—which up to this point only Moses was gifted to do.
The refreshment that came from the Holy Spirit’s touch and the benefit of being surrounded by 68 prophets (Eldad and Medad were still back at the camp) caused Moses to remark, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (vs. 29).
Centuries later, God fulfilled Moses’ wish by giving the Holy Spirit to the church of Jesus Christ at Pentecost (see Acts 2).
So what does this mean to us today?
If you’re feeling burned out and you need a stress reliever, you can do better than go shopping or take on vacation or reach for a stiff drink. The best stress reliever is a touch from the Holy Spirit. Fortunately, if you’re a follower of Jesus, you already have the Holy Spirit.
So how do we access this stress reliever we call the Holy Spirit? I wish I could give you a formula, but none exists. But I can give you this advice: seek him and wait for him. Acts 1:12-2:13 describes what the early church did as they waited for Moses’ wish to be fulfilled.
In Jeremiah 29:13, God told his people, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- What fears do you tend to exaggerate? How can Numbers 13 help you deal with your fear?
- Describe a time when you experienced the refreshing touch of the Holy Spirit. What were the events that led up to it?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.