Numbers 11:16-30 (Part 3) – A Prayer Meeting in Jacmel, Haiti Put Things in Perspective

Posted: August 27, 2016 in Uncategorized
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Numbers 11:16-30 (Part 3 of 3)

Moses Choses Seventy Leaders

I may have spoken about this before, but it was a profound moment in my life that I will not soon forget. We were on our first mission trip to Haiti, our first mission trip altogether. The getting to Jacmel, Haiti was an ordeal. Leaving the church at midnight to drive to Atlanta. The hauling of our baggage and supplies that we taking to Jacmel. The arrival in the hottest city on the planet, Port-au-Prince. The chaos of baggage claim and customs that is Port-au-Prince in the stifling heat inside what would be best be described as the equivalent of a tobacco aging warehouse in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. Old and rickety with very little ventilation. Then after walking out there you walk through the equivalent of those haunted house where hundreds of people are reaching out to touch you. It was intimidating and scary. All of these people are trying to “assist” you with your luggage. Once they “claim” you, you are expected to pay them for this valuable service of pushing your luggage cart out to the awaiting van from the church in Jacmel with whom our church has a relationship. Church vans are not always top-notch as you know. Church vans in Haiti are rugged and show the rough life of a vehicle in Haiti. Then, there is the long three-hour drive to Jacmel from the P-a-P airport. Not only is it blazing hot but you are driven through what has to be the poorest big city that you have ever seen as you drive through Port-au-Prince. Dirty. Nasty. Trashy. After you escape the sensory overload of Port-au-Prince, you still have two hours to go over twisting, turning narrow roads through the mountains of Haiti to get to the other side of the island where we will find Jacmel. Then, in Jacmel, our room has no air conditioning that first year we were there. Where it was situated in building, there was absolutely no airflow into our room. It would get so hot in our room that the sheets would stick to you because of being dripping wet with sweat. The days were hotter and sweatier and the work was hard. It began to make me wonder why I came. I felt no particular spiritual uplift from hauling cement from one place to another or from digging holes for fence posts. I enjoyed being with my friends on our mission team, but, hey, I could have enjoyed that back home in Duncan.

 

Then, Tuesday night came. We were invited to come to the prayer service at the church. At first, when we got there, not but a few parishioners were there. Then, they began to pray out loud each one. There was no agenda for this meeting just prayer. There was no preacher just prayer. As the evening continued, more and more people filed into the church. Prayers being offered up by all. All at the same time. In French Creole, their prayers were offered up to God. Have you ever heard 100 or so people praying at the same time? It was a cacophony of sound. You could hear the rising power of emotion in prayer and the coming down from the high of emotion. The power with which each one was praying was something to behold. Although I could not understand the creole dialect of French, I could understand the intensity with which they were praying to God. In this land where Christianity battles with voodoo for hearts of people, these prayers seemed more intense than any prayers that I had heard ever back in America. I simply closed my eyes and just allowed my auditory senses take over and the walls of sound of 100 people praying with great fervor all at once. I swear that night I could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in that room. His presence was palpable. Your heart could feel it. The rest of the mission trip was put into perspective by this night. No longer did I view it as a struggle. No longer was it something that I just had to get through. It really helped me see that in the simple lives that these people lead, they are more in tune with the moving of the Holy Spirit than we are as Americans. We have so much noise that we let into our lives that we do not sometimes sense the power of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

 

In that prayer service, these people were in touch with the Holy Spirit in their lives, that indwells in them and in us. However, there was a fervor and a sense of real need of God’s help in their prayers that I have never sensed before or since in the prayers of American people including myself. We do not pray in the same way as these Haitian Christians do. Our prayers are passionless by comparison. We would be made to feel uncomfortable here in our country, if we prayed with the same passion and fervor as these members of Restoration Ministries Church in Jacmel, Haiti. I long to feel the palpable presence of the Holy Spirit as I did that night back some four (4) years ago now. Do I have too much noise and clutter in my life to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of me each and every day? Do I need carve out time to feel Him, to hear Him speak to me, to taste Him in the air, to sense His presence fully?

 

It is that idea that we have an advantage over pre-Pentecost people of God in that we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives daily, but yet we do not sense it sometimes that came to mind when I read through today’s passage, Numbers 11:16-30, today for the third and final time.

 

 

16 The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

 

18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

 

21 But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?”

 

23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

 

24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.

 

26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

 

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”

 

29 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 on them!” 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

 

Moses’ reply in v. 29 was looking forward to the day when all God’s people would experience the pouring out of God’s spirit. The prophet, Joel, recorded God’s promise to pour out His Spirit on all believers in Joel 2:28-29, which was fulfilled at Pentecost (Acts 2:16-21). Believers today can be sure that they have the Holy Spirit when they become Christ followers (Romans 8:9). We also can pray to live by the Holy Spirit’s power (Galatians 5:16-26). If you desire to have the full throttle of the Holy Spirit’s power in your life, pray for Him to fill your life with His presence and strengthen you to follow Christ more closely.

 

Moses says, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them!” It is only through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord that we can have the Holy Spirit dwell in us. In the absence of Jesus’ imputed perfection to us, we are not holy and thus the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in us. Christ gives us our perfection and it is through that perfection that our souls become a holy temple in which the Holy Spirit can reside.

 

Is that not amazing. That same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in us, as the song by Jeremy Camp states (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NcEkEeghYQ) . That same power that commanded Lazarus to wake from his death slumber is the same power that resides in us. That same power that causes a raging sea to calm on His command lives in us. We have God’s power living in us. Yet, we do recognize it. We clutter our lives with toys, concerns of how to pay for this and that, concerns over first world problems, such that we cannot sense the Holy Spirit’s presence and power in our lives. What Moses could only wish for is a present reality for all believers. However, we do not sense the power of the Holy Spirit in us at times. How going to poorest country in the Western Hemisphere made me realize that these people who live with so much less clutter in their lives actually realize and sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

 

We are the children of Jesus Christ! We can call upon His name through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and we can conquer anything that troubles us through that power. When we realize that we really do not need any more than that and rely on that is when we really start to grow in Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in us. We are more than conquerors. There is nothing that we cannot overcome when we call upon His name. Let us begin to understand the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let us declutter our minds and souls and hear His voice. Let us pray with fervor. Let us pray with passion. Let us taste the presence of the Holy Spirit in the air. Let us sense His presence.

 

 

Amen and Amen.

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