“Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites – Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth – became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council.” Numbers 16:1-2
Often when you read scripture, it would be very easy to insert modern day people in place of the people written about. That happened this morning when I read through some chapters in the book of Numbers. During this time, tribes were established and each were given jobs to do. Each tribe had a leader and all were under the command of Moses. It is important to know, “…Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (12:3). In my study Bible there was a note that said perhaps Moses was more broken than most. If God allows brokenness, then I think it is fair to say that humility can be the gift given in its place. It is also noteworthy that, “the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (Exodus 33:11). Was it Moses’ humility that brought the Lord so close? I desire the same; for in the brokenness that gives humility, a close friendship with the Lord is acquired.
Moses and the Lord would meet and messages would be given for the people. Moses would report back to the people and it was their job to obey all that the Lord commanded. In response to their obedience, God made some amazing promises. He said, “I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God.” (Exodus 29:45). God had earlier promised Abraham, “Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:8). The Lord still longs to be with us because He loves us. So much so that, “…He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). Our God never stops pursuing His creation.
I am getting ahead of myself and need to get back to the situation with Moses. The group that came to oppose Moses and his brother Aaron, who served with him, brought a pretty serious charge and revealed their hearts in doing so. “You have gone to far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?” (16:3). And in true humility, he fell down with his face to the ground. Again, he must have been broken over the rebellion of this nation. Moses said some bold words and ended with, “…but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together.” (16:10-11). Moses also asked why they were grumbling against his brother too and made no mention of himself. Another mark of humility.
The Lord had appointed Moses to lead His people to a land He had marked out just for them. Are leaders not appointed by God still today? Should our response be rebellion, grumbling and trying to place ourselves in their position? Can we learn from those who have gone before us and correct our alignment? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16). In the days we are living in, I find it helpful to be in God’s Word often. Most of us have never lived through something like this before and we need direction. We can learn from those who have gone before us. We can read and obey God’s Word and keep our eyes focused and on Him. He is not one to go back on His word.
Oh, as for the group that spoke against Moses and ultimately the LORD? It did not end well at all and makes me fearful for rebellious people in leadership and our nation today. Korah, the two men with him and all of their household and possessions were swallowed up in the earth. And the 250 council men were consumed by fire (see 16:31-35). If this was not enough tragedy, there was more to follow. “The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. ‘You have killed the LORD’s people,’ they said. (16:41). While the grumbling continued, the Lord spoke to Moses again. God was ready to wipe out them all out, but Moses and Aaron fell on their face again. However, a plague had already broken out. This reminds me so much of our day with the impeachment trial and now the Coronavirus.
“…but Aaron offered incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who died because of Korah.” (16:47-49). Who is standing in the gap now? Will we be follow Aaron’s example? Before you decide, let me tell you the end. “Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting, for the plague had stopped.” (16:50). What will we decided as individuals, believers, Americans? Would humility, repentance and returning to the Lord, our first love, stop this virus? Would being facedown on our knees, asking the Lord to stop the spread and death, rise like incense as prayers to Him? Would the lifting of our voices and hands in praise be a considered a sacrifice in the midst of the unknown? It is up for you to decide. “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15).
*This is a repost picture, but I am holding a cup of coffee with the shop label on it. The coffee shop just so happens to the named SERVE.