BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “Now Korah…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?” Numbers 16:1-3 ESV
Here we go again. As if Moses had not faced enough challenges, tests and rebellion, now comes another. We don’t know what motivated the actions, perhaps an accumulation of events. Moses had faced the challenges of Miriam and Aaron. There was the grumbling about meat, there was the conflict over the report of the spies who surveyed the promised land and the rebellion of the people.
This group is not just the “rabble” or the easily disgruntled. These were some of the most influential individuals and leaders among the tribes. This was not just rebellion, but betrayal of trust as well. Their complaint? “We are all equal, we are all the same. God is among us as he is with you, Moses. So, why do you think you are special?”
This is Moses, the meek. This is Moses who took on God’s call as the reluctant leader. Moses, sees into the situation and addresses it for what it is. To Korah and his followers his asks, “….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?” (Numbers 16:9,10 ESV)
Moses points out to them that the Lord had called them to a unique and special role from the congregation. So Moses calls all of them to come with a censor in hand in which is an offering of incense. The offering the Lord accepts will be known as chosen by the Lord and not their own initiative.
Moses calls these 250 to step forward from the congregation and addresses all of them, “If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord.” (Number 16:29-30 ESV)
As Moses spoke these words it is like God “picked up on the suggestion” and immediately the ground opened and swallowed Korah and all his followers.
It is interesting how in our day, we see cries for “equality.” To many equal means the same status, the same outcomes for everyone. In this text we see the Korah spoke some truth. God’s Spirit was among all of His people. But that was not to be taken for granted and viewed as an irrevocable privilege. As God’s people they were to honor the Lord through their faith and obedience. They were to recognize those chosen for special purposes.
In God’s economy, there is equality and there are special gifts and callings for different individuals. Moses was chosen to fill a unique role for a special time. Joshua would succeed him and his role and calling would be different. After Joshua was gone the leadership role would be dispersed among the leadership of the various tribes. Finally Kings would rise up to lead and rule the people.
Unity and progress is achieved through a focus on a common purpose. Each contributing according to unique gifts and callings in the role in which the Lord has placed us. That was a concept that Korah and the Levities failed to understand and it cost them dearly and it impacted the entire congregation.
Prayer for today…. Lord, contentment with our calling and role can be a great challenge. Discontentment is the tool Satan uses to bring unrest and division and to disrupt God’s work. Help us to be mindful and on guard. When we prove ourselves faithful where we are at, it is You, Lord, who is the One who brings added responsibilities and opportunities in Your time.