BOLD REBELLION

We have seen men sent to spy who demonstrated unbelief by being fearful.  We must trust God, but he forgives our mistakes.  If we are ignorant and sin unknowingly he has provided a path to forgiveness.  Those who know better are treated harshly though. The adults of this nation will not see the Promised Land.  I have seen this in churches inn this day too.  We often have more trouble teaching the adults than the children.  Israel had its infantile adults too.

Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:  And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:  And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?  Num 16:1-3 (KJV)

 God does talk to all of us, but he also appoints leaders.  Is that unfair?  God does show favoritism, so what are you going to do about it?  He chose Jacob over the elder brother Essau.  He made the rebellious Saul a changed man as Paul, who wrote most of the key epistles of the New Testament.  Moses was shocked to see the people turn against the Lord, not that they were opposing him.  He knew his calling, and the magnitude of their error.

 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:  And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.  This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;  And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.  Num 16:4-7 (KJV)

If God has called you to be a shepherd, you grieve for the sheep.  You may not grieve for the wolves though.  Sheep stray, as Miriam and Aaron did.  Wolves don’t stray, they prey.  Real shepherds don’t prey, they pray. 

And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:  Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?  And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?  For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?  Num 16:8-11 (KJV)

 God had given honor to these men, if not as much as they coveted.  They also openly rebelled against the man of God.

And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:  Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?  Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.  Num 16:12-14 (KJV)

It won’t matter what we think, as God does speak for himself.   Even today he will speak by actions in each situation, even if he does not make his voice heard.  Moses knows that God will act, so he invites them to a challenge.

And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.  And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:  And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.  And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.  And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation.  And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,  Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.  And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?  Num 16:15-22 (KJV)

Moses asked God not to honor the offerings of these rebels.  He noted that he was not guilty of  cheating or offending them in any way.  It is truly offensive to be opposed by people who you are trying to serve.  God does not respect those who attack his people, even I they have good intentions.  Their rebellion is against god, not the man of god.  The spirit who accuses the believers is the devil himself.  He has his reward coming too.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  Rev 12:9-10 (KJV)

 Moses did intervene for those who were innocent among the congregation though.  God warned them away from his judgment. 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.  And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.  And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.  So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.  Num 16:23-27 (KJV)

So Moses announces the way of God’s judgment to the people.

And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.  If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me.  But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.  And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:  And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.  They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.  And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense. Num 16:28-35 (KJV)

This kind of earth fault opening up appears again in the New Testament.  Revelation shows the earth opening up again to consume evil.

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.  And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.  And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.  Rev 12:13-16 (KJV)

Satan may be imitating God in this as judgment was once done in this way.

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.  Gen 7:4 (KJV)

Water is usually a source of life and cleansing, but it can be a tool of death as well.  God has promised not to judge the world in this way again.  Satan has not promised not to cause suffering though.  Living water is a metaphor for spiritual life, and this may be a water of death, spiritual death being poured out.  Perhaps a world of unrestrained sin is to be released to overcome the church.  That is for another study in Revelation though.  At this time the earth swallows the sinners up, as perhaps it will again in that future “flood”.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed.  The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the LORD, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.  And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar:  To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses.  Num 16:36-40 (KJV)

When leaders turn against God’s leaders he sets his house in order.  The people have been given a memorial to remind them not to sin in this kind of rebellion.  But they retain their free will choice; to obey or to sin. 

But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.  And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.  And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.  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.  Num 16:41-50 (KJV)

Nearly fifteen thousand souls perished in sin.  Many make bad choices, and righteousness is not a popular decision. 

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.  Matt 7:13-14 (KJV) 

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