"Revolt is revolt whether it is militant, blatant rebellion or quiet, respectable indifference.” (Source Unknown, Lou Nicholes - Missionary/Author).
The most critical event of the years of wandering was the rebellion of Korah and his company against Moses and Aaron. Miriam’s and Aaron’s envy against Moses before the pronouncement of judgment at Kadesh was mild compared to this rebellion stirred up by Korah (vv. 1-35). When you review the history of Israel from Egypt to Canaan, you discover that the nation got into trouble every time they resisted the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Whenever God sought to build the people’s faith by bringing them into a difficult situation, they immediately rebelled against Moses and Aaron, blamed them for their plight, and wanted to return to Egypt.
Whether it’s the ancient camp of Israel or a modern city today, no society can function without subordination in a chain of command. Someone has to be in charge. Parents have authority in the home, teachers in the classroom, managers in the factory or office, and civil servants in the city or nation (Rom. 13:1). When this order breaks down, society is in serious trouble. God had chosen Moses to be the leader of the nation and Aaron to be the high priest; to resist this arrangement was to rebel against the will of God and bring serious division to the camp.
Though he was Israel’s top leader, Moses recognized those occasions where it was the best part of wisdom to let God reveal His mind directly to the people without using him as the spokesman (v. 5). He didn’t debate with Korah and his crowd and try to change their minds, because he knew their aim was to take over the priesthood, something the Lord would never permit. One of the easiest ways to fall away from following God is to look at our present problems and exaggerate them. Two men by the names of Dathan and Abiram did just that. They made the complaint that Moses had not only failed to take them into the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey (Canaan) but had made himself a prince and was “lording it over” the people (v. 13). Their was no doubt that these spiritually ignorant men had envy in their hearts and wanted to take over the leadership themselves.
Lord help me to never argue with those who may accuse me falsely but pray to the Lord and ask Him to vindicate me just as Moses did with Korah and his company.
Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, 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 a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well- known men. They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, "You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?" When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, and he said to Korah and all his company, "In the morning the LORD will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him. Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; put fire in them and put incense on them before the LORD tomorrow, and the man whom the LORD chooses shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!" And Moses said to Korah, "Hear now, you sons of Levi: is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the LORD and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also? Therefore it is against the LORD that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?" And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and they said, "We will not come up. Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you must also make yourself a prince over us? Moreover, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up." And Moses was very angry and said to the LORD, "Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, and I have not harmed one of them." And Moses said to Korah, "Be present, you and all your company, before the LORD, you and they, and Aaron, tomorrow. And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the LORD his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer." So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation. And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, "Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment." And they fell on their faces and said, "O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?"
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Numbers 13:1-33The spies sent into Canaan
Numbers 14:1-10Israel refuses to enter Canaan
Numbers 14:11-25Moses intercedes for the people
Numbers 14:26-38Death sentence on the rebels
Numbers 14:39-45A futile invasion attempt
Numbers 15:1-15The transition from one generation to the next
Numbers 15:17-41Sacrifice for the sin of ignorance
Numbers 16:1-22The rebellion of Korah
Numbers 16:23-50God’s severe judgment on Korah’s crowd
Numbers 17:1-13The budding of Aaron’s rod
Numbers 18:1-19God held Aaron and his sons responsible for the tabernacle ministry
Numbers 18:20-32Servants of the Lord deserve to be supported by His people
Numbers 19:1-22The ashes of a heifer used to purify the unclean