Reading Numbers 16 – 18 for today.
As we begin the reading today we find in chapter sixteen three men of the Levites (v. 8), Korah, Dathan and Abiram, who bring an uprising against God. They claim that it is against Moses and Aaron, but in the truth of it; it is against God and His leadership. They have called on 250 princes of Israel to join them.
Moses’s first response was to fall on his face. My first thought for this is that it is an act of petitioning God in humility for these men and their rebellion against Him. My how people of God need to fall on their faces before Him.
There are many times those who are following a leader often think they can do a better job or service than is being given. After all; who did Moses think he was assuming all of this authority for himself? They were questioning. Are we not just as holy as Moses and Aaron? They were in fact showing unholy characteristics. They were not following God; but their own devices, and thinking.
God judges these men and those who followed them by opening the ground to “swallow” them up; and then, closing the ground up. Now, many will say, “God had no cause for this judgment”. He most certainly did. The text does not say it, but it seems an almost certainty that Korah’s, Dathan’s and Abiram’s intent was to take over leadership and lead the Israelites back to Egypt. They certainly didn’t have God’s plan in their hearts; or they would have not had a problem with the leadership of Moses; a wise and meek man (12:3)
Following the judgment upon this rabble of men and families, the congregation gathered against Moses and Aaron (v. 41), and then they witnessed and saw the glory of the LORD appear upon the tabernacle.
“And Moses said unto Aaron, ‘Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.’ And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah. And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.” Numbers 16:46-50 (KJV)
They are in quite the rebellious mood. It is not of God. Because of their rebellion God says, “Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.” v. 45 And a plague begins upon the people, and before Moses and Aaron could act for the atonement of the people 14,700 people have died (v. 49).
One of the things about a good leader is that they love the people whom they lead. Even when they mess up he still pleads for them. Sacrifices for them. Will give his/her life for them. This was Moses. Sin was in the camp. Atonement must be made to deliver the people from this plague of death.
The wrath of God is swift; and so too is His grace.
How ought God’s people, Christians, of today respond to those whom God has placed in leadership? We have a few Scriptural references:
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” Hebrews 13:7″Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17
And about leadership God says,
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28
In all things follow the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe Him, obey Him, love Him with all your heart, mind and soul.
Remember to read Numbers 16 – 18.
-Tim A. Blankenship