“Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them” (Numbers 11:26).

During the forty-year desert wandering of Israel, things were not so easy. Admittedly, things are not so easy today. And, not unlike our own “wandering” in the wilderness of our faith, seeking a “not-yet” Promised Land, Israel began to complain about God’s provision. Let’s be honest, we grumble far too often.

But, the account in the book of Numbers demonstrates how God obligates Himself to humanity, for His mission. Before we dive into the anointing and appointing, we should recognize that God meets out needs, not necessarily our wants. He is Jehovah Jireh (the LORD our Provider).

Throughout the Exodus, the Israelites complain about the constant and mundane supply of manna. Instead, they yearn for meals they prepared during their Egyptian captivity. The leader, Moses, is mentally and physically exhausted. He’s nearly burned out from the constant complaining and the never satisfied attitudes of the people he’s leading. 

I believe many leaders can relate to Moses’ troubles. He is grieved with leadership-despair. Moses cannot handle the encumbrance of the masses, he pours out his heart to the Lord, “The burden is too heavy for me” (Num. 11:14). And yet, in the midst of God’s displeasure with the people, the Lord hears the cries of Moses.

Yet, one biblical foundation that is repeated, the Lord’s hand is never weakened or shortened (11:23); meaning, there is nothing too hard for God or too exhausting for Him to handle.

As leaders, times of replenishment are vital, but so is delegation. We were not meant to bear the burdens of life, ministry, or mission alone. Jesus expresses this when he declares, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).

Thus, the Lord instructs Moses to gather seventy elders among the people. The elders will become “anointed and appointed” leaders. God promises to “take some of the Spirit” that is on Moses and lay it upon the seventy (11:17). Again, we read how God obligates Himself of the problem by providing grace, power, and wisdom. 

A great contrast can be seen. Instead of being satisfied with God’s provision (manna), the people crave and lust after food from their enslavement. In retrospect, God doesn’t give the people what they want (or crave), but what they need. Likewise, when the Lord responds to Moses’ leadership dilemma, he doesn’t provide Moses with extra power. Instead, God anoints and appoints 70 Spirit-filled community leaders, taking from Moses. 

As the seventy elders gather before the tent of meeting with Moses—the Lord comes down in a cloud and anoints the elders. They begin to prophesy! However, not all of the prophesying leaders are at the tent. Two of the leaders never arrive—they remain in the community. Meanwhile, “a young man [Joshua] ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!” (11:26). 

While Joshua is confused and a bit jealous, Moses understands God’s mission and wisdom—to fill His people with the Holy Spirit as they live among one another. Eldad and Medad— were two anointed and appointed leaders for community mission (Missio Communitas). Moses declares, “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (Num. 11:29). 

Indeed, God has brought to fulfillment the snapshot of Eldad and Medad; He has answered Moses’ prophetic word. As recorded in the book of Acts, Peter stands before the entire assembly at Pentecost and recites from the prophet Joel:

“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, 

that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, 

and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 

and your young men shall see visions, 

and your old men shall dream dreams; 

even on my male servants and female servants; 

in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy” 

(Acts 2:17-18; Joel 2:28-29).

As believers of Jesus Christ, we are all anointed and appointed for community mission. While the place and people we serve among may look different, every believer of Christ has been anointed and appointed by the Spirit of the living God for community mission. We’re appointed to weep, rejoice, breathe, eat, sleep, and live among the downtrodden, broken, displaced, and disparaged. God’s children are gospel-centered and Spirit-empowered (John 1:12).

In agreement with Moses’ declaration, I wish that all believers are like Eldad and Medad, prophesying and speaking the Word of God within their communities. And more than that—living as anointed and appointed Spirit-filled people.