“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.”
“(I pray that) they go down alive into the realm of the dead.”
In Numbers 11, Moses is exhausted from the work of leading Israel and so God tells him to impart His spirit by the laying on of hands to 70 leaders who will help him.
Two men, not included in the 70, (Eldad and Medad) begin to prophesy and Joshua warns Moses, that this could be a threat.
Moses is not threatened at all. “I wish all the Lord’s people were prophets!” he tells Joshua.
But in Numbers 16, when a man named Korah tries to get control of Israel, Moses is not so gracious or forgiving. He prays that the ground might swallow Korah alive.
To understand Moses’ different responses you must understand the difference between influence and power.
If you have power and you share it with 4 others, you are left with 1/5th of the power you originally had. Power shared is power divided. The more power you share, the less power you have.
But when you share your influence with 4 others you have 5 times as much influence as before. Influence shared is influence multiplied. The more influence you share, the more influence you have.
Korah sought power. It was a zero-sum game. Moses could not let the challenge go without comprising his own authority.
Eldad and Medad weren’t seeking power. Filled with the same spirit as Moses, they began to exert influence wherein they actually increased Moses’ influence. For that Moses was grateful.
God called Israel to be led by a prophet (influence). That Israel was led by a king (power) was God’s concession to their desire to be like other nations.
Real leadership is about influence, not power. When you lead through power you are liable to use people as a means to an end, treating them as things rather than as people.
To lead through influence requires vision and the ability to clearly articulate a preferred future. It means working with others to achieve what we cannot do alone. It means listening and discussing and patiently explaining what we believe and why we do what we do.
Power diminishes those upon whom it is used. But influence educates and enlarges people.
This is why the Bible encourages us to become influencers but is ambivalent about those who seek power.
Eldad and Medad began to exercise influence and were encouraged. Korah hungered after power and so was dealt with harshly.
Not everyone has power, but everyone can have influence. Always choose influence over power.