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Numbers 11:26 But there remained two of the men in the camp…and the spirit rested upon them…
Though the title and examples in this message are men, these lessons are by no means gender-specific. They apply to men and women alike! In this message, we are going to look at a few kinds of men and women in the camp of God’s church, ministry, and kingdom overall who caused either significant harm or significant blessing. Which of these kinds of people are you?
A Trouble Maker in the Camp
In Joshua 7, we read of a man named Achan. Achan was in the camp of the Israelites. They’d gone to war with Jericho after circling the city walls once a day for 6 days and seven times on the seventh day. They shouted, and the walls fell down flat, they ran in and destroyed the people of the city, except for Rahab and all her family that was in her house.
Later, when trying to fight against Ai, a much smaller city, the Israelites were defeated. Joshua asked God why and God told him that someone had stolen some goods while in Jericho. They were commanded to take nothing from Jericho except for the silver and gold and to put that into the treasury of the Lord.
It was found that Achan had taken a Babylonish garment, 200 shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of 50 shekels weight (Joshua 7:21). The silver and gold was to be put into the treasury of God, so Achan not only disobeyed, but he stole from God. For this cause, he and his family and all his possessions including the things he’d stolen were burned and buried (Joshua 7:25 – 26). Obviously, nonconformity in this situation was destructive to many people.
The trouble maker in any camp has to be dealt with, not based on some hearsay rumor, but based on evidence of their ill intent. If we base it on hearsay, we’ll see anyone who does things differently from us as a threat. But, if we have irrevocable evidence, then our decisions will be more sound and personal bias will not be as much of a factor. People with ill intent will eventually make themselves known. They have to. They will say the wrong thing to the wrong person, or in some other way overextend themselves and give themselves away and it’ll be clear to the observant person and sometimes even the not-so-observant person what’s really going on!
God has a way of ferreting out trouble makers and making it quite obvious to those who want to see it, and showing us that not everyone with a differing way or thought process is the trouble maker in the camp. Sometimes we miss a great opportunity because we lump everyone in the same category when it really calls for a little more effort than that in order to see who’s who!
The Faithful in the Camp
Numbers 11:26-27 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. (27) And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
Joshua, in his youthful zeal and faithfulness to Moses, just wanted to make sure all the rules were being followed: Numbers 11:28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. Joshua may have been one who was getting into trouble with others because he just thought the rules and laws (we would call them procedures and bylaws today) should be kept. It’s not that Eldad and Medad were breaking any rules. God was just using them differently than the others. But Joshua thought they were rule-breakers though. Moses had to let him know it was okay and that everything was fine.
Jesus also had to deal with a similar situation. I added a few little comments along the way. We see this in Mark 9:38-40 And John (good…faithful…mistaken…but faithful John) answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. In other words, “Lord, we saw this guy out there doing something in your name, and because he wasn’t conforming to the rest of our group, we let him know in no uncertain terms that he was wrong and that he should cease and desist! Aren’t You glad to have such faithful people like us, Lord?!” (39) But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. (40) For he that is not against us is on our part.
Not everyone who is different from you and me, or does things differently than you and me, is against you or me!! Not every Pastor who pastors or preaches differently than what you’re used to is against you! No one is the gold standard of how things should or should not be done! Actually, it’s usually those not doing a whole lot for God who have the most to say about those who are! Let’s just do something for God, with the right intentions, and pray He blesses it for His glory!!
Moses Teaches Joshua a Lesson
Numbers 11:29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them! The nonconformity of Eldad and Medad in this situation was constructive. It showed Joshua that God doesn’t always work in the same way all the time. Moses probably realized by now that there will always be people who will skirt, bend, and twist the rules to their own liking anyway. These kinds of people are all over the place! There is no place or environment that is exempt from people who will do what they know they shouldn’t be doing. They know what the rules are, they just aren’t doing them and they may even mock you for pointing out that fact.
That shouldn’t be a reason to deal with nothing in a sort of “what use is it? They’re gonna do it anyway!” mentality, but also not to try to micromanage and track down every little infraction because that’ll drive you and everyone else around you insane!! Some things have to be dealt with, and some things just have to be given over to the Lord to either deal with or to reveal.
The Insightful in the Camp
Two years after being forgotten in prison by the Chief Butler to the Pharaoh, Joseph was summoned out of jail, where he’d spent about 12 years after being falsely accused and misrepresented. He was summoned from jail so that he might interpret a dream of Pharaoh.
In Genesis 41:1 – 7 Pharoah dreamed of seven fat cows being eaten by seven thin cows and seven healthy ears of corn (wheat) sprung up on one stalk, followed by seven wilted ears of wheat. The seven wilted ears of wheat devoured the seven healthy ears of wheat.
In Verses 8 – 13, the magicians and wise men were told of the dream, but none could interpret it. The Chief Butler told Pharoah about Joseph, and throughout the rest of the chapter, Joseph interprets Pharoah’s dream and he became second in command in Egypt. Why? Was it because he was dreamin’ and schemin’ while in solitary confinement of how to take everything over? No! It was because he was in tune with God and God showed him a message that even the highest leader in the land could not understand, as intelligent as I’m sure he was.
Pharaoh had a man in the camp who had insights from God into things that had not even occurred to Pharaoh, and rather than shut him out and treat him like a threat, Pharaoh gave him a chance and of course it worked out because it was wrought of God! Joseph stood out because of his unique gift from God and by it he served many millions of people!
How does one become insightful? One becomes insightful when they learn how to be in tune with the mind and thoughts of God! You won’t get it right all the time, but if you’ll practice being open to the Spirit of God throughout your day, He’ll feed you thoughts and insights into things that may be bigger than you can even imagine!
Which of these people in the camp of your church, place of employment, family, etc. are you? Are you the trouble maker, always needing to be bailed out because of your poor decisions or skirting around the rules, and therefore reaping for it? Are you the faithful person who just wants things to be done the way they are supposed to be done? Or are you the insightful person who just wants to see things blessed, growing, and blossoming as you can envision them being?! Walk with God in your own life daily, and let God make you a man or woman in the camp who can be counted on to be a blessing!
Lord, I ask You to identify to me which of these kinds of people in the camp of your kingdom I am. I then ask You to help me to either get on the right track with You, or to bring the most glory to You in my life! Help me to never take for granted that You are just looking for faithfulness coupled with willingness. I am willing to become the person You have created me to be and are making me to be. Amen!
One thought on “A Man in the Camp: Which One Are You?”
I enjoyed reading the deeper level insight in this post. Non-conformity is not always a negative thing! I appreciate the way you brought that out. Thank you Pastor Fulmer for this blog!