November 4, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Following the Israelites’ defeat “…in the wilderness of Paran…” (Numbers 12:16), the rebellion led by Korah, is another sad incident in the journey From Egypt To Canaan. The start of that rebellion is recorded in Numbers 16:1 through 3. But I encourage you to read the whole account in Numbers, chapters 16 and 17.
Now Korah…Dathan…Abiram…and On…rose up before Moses with…two
hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation…men of renown. And they
gathered together against Moses and…Aaron, and said to them, “You take
too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of
them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves
above the congregation of the LORD?”
God had specifically identified the leaders of His people – Moses and Aaron. And He further chose seventy leaders to stand with Moses (see Numbers 11:16, 17). Plus He chose the tribe of Levi to help the High Priest Aaron with the tabernacle duties (see Numbers 3:1-13). But Korah, a Levite, wanted more! He was not satisfied with his God-given position! And he involved many others in his rebellion – to their great detriment!
Three severe judgments came upon Israel as a result of Korah’s bold rebellion:
• Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, their families, and all they owned were swallowed by the earth – splitting open beneath them, and “…they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the congregation.” (Numbers 16:33).
• “…a fire came out from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense…,” joining Korah in his rebellion against God. (Numbers 16:34).
• “On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘You have killed the people of the LORD.’ …And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Get away from among the congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.’ …Now those who died in the plague were fourteen thousand seven hundred, besides those who died in the Korah incident.” (Numbers 16:41, 44, 49).
Almost 15,000 people died because one man was not satisfied with his God-ordained station in life, and decided to rebel against God!
My longest pastorate was eleven and a half years in a church whose people I dearly came to love. But there was one man especially who made my time there a great challenge. It seems he thought he was better equipped than I was to be the pastor. When I first arrived in my new parish, he bragged to me that he had driven out three previous pastors. It was soon evident that he intended to get rid of me. He was not ordained, trained, or chosen as pastor. Yet as I made pastoral visits to a local hospital, I caught him wearing a name tag that identified him as the pastor of the church! Thankfully, under the leadership of one of my successors, he left that church. And it has been a much smoother ministry ever since!
The writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 13:5: “Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself [Jesus Christ] has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ ” It is not just material things our Lord is talking about here. It is also our position in life! Not that we should not try to better ourselves, but it must be God’s leading!
Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that He came “…that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” In Matthew 4:19 He gives the shortest command we have in the Bible. He simply says, “Follow Me.” We will never go wrong is we closely follow the lead of our Lord – in everything!