Numbers 16:12

 

 

The Bible says in Numbers 16:12-15, “And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:[13] 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?[14] 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.[15] 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.” In these verses we see from Dathan and Abiram rebellion, complaining, and impatience. In verse twelve they said to Moses, “We will not come up.” But Moses was the leader, and we are supposed to obey our leaders. All the world has a hierarchy in every situation in life, including the family, the workplace, and our local, state, and federal governments. God is at the top of every hierarchy, and God decides who will be our leaders. If you resist the leader, you are resisting God and God’s will. Because of this truth, rebellion is a great sin. Christians should be the best citizens and the best workers wherever they are in the world. Christians should be respectful and obedient. Romans 13:1-7 makes this perfectly clear.

 

Dathan and Abiram were complainers. Notice in verse thirteen that they turned God’s truth around, and said that Egypt was the land flowing with milk and honey, and not the land that God promised: the land of Canaan. They said that Moses was going to get them all killed. They said that it was Moses’ fault, and that Moses did it only so that he could be “prince” over them.

 

In verse fourteen Dathan and Abiram expressed their great impatience at not having a land flowing with milk and honey right there and then. Basically, they said, “I want what I want, and I want it now.” Impatience of this kind is not having faith in God. Impatience of this kind is extreme selfishness. It is a result of rebellion. It is a lack of surrender to God’s will. God always has a good reason if He wants you to wait for something. If you rush off and take what you want without waiting on the Lord, it will just take you longer to get out of the mess that you have created.

 

Notice what Moses did in the face of such strong and determined opposition. Moses turned to the Lord, and asked God for help. We are fighting a spiritual battle. We are not really fighting against people. But when they are of the wrong spirit, we need the Lord’s help. David had many enemies when he was king of Israel, and we see in the Psalms that over and over David went to the Lord for help. For example, in Psalms 56:1-3 David said, “Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.[2] Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.[3] What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”

 

The Bible says in Numbers 16:16-21, “And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow:[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,[21] Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” Verse eighteen gives us a hint of what God is thinking about doing when it mentions “fire.” The ultimate punishment comes with fire from God. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire from heaven. Hell will be fire. Fire represents God’s judgment and anger against sin. Thank the Lord that Jesus came and died for us, or else we would all have a destiny of fire. And so here we have Korah and “all the congregation.” But God speaks to Moses and Aaron. They are God’s chosen ones to lead the children of Israel. Those who oppose Moses and Aaron are opposing God. Korah is mentioned in the New Testament as one of the examples of false teachers, which tells us how much God is displeased by false teachers. Notice that the name Korah is spelled differently in the New Testament. It says in Jude 1:11, “Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” The word “gainsaying” means “speaking against.” Korah spoke against God’s truth and against God’s prophet. That was a great sin. Be careful who you are against. Because of this rebellion and contrary spirit, God said to Moses in numbers 16:21, “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.

 

God meant to consume all of the congregation as well as Korah. But Moses acted as an intercessor and pleaded for the sinful people. Jesus is our intercessor. The Bible says in Numbers 16:22, “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?“ There is wrath from God against sin. It says in Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” When Jesus died on the cross, He took the wrath of God on Himself. That is why He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The wrath of God will never fall upon those who believe in Jesus because it says in First John 2:1, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”   

 

The Bible says in Numbers 16:23-35, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,[24] Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.[25] And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28] 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.[29] 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.[30] 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.[31] 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:[32] 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.[33] 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.[34] And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.[35] And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.” In verse twenty-six Moses told the congregation to depart “from the tents of these wicked men.” This is the doctrine of separation. Human beings easily follow the example of other human beings that they spend time with. The goal is to be a leader of good things instead of a follower of bad things, but until you learn to be a leader, you must learn to separate from those who do not follow God. Pray for them, but be careful not to get involved in their sinful activities. This principle is found throughout the Bible. It says in Psalms 1:1-2, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.[2] But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” It says in First John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.[16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.[17] And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” And one more example is Second Corinthians 6:14-17, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?[15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?[16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.[17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

 

At the end of verse twenty-six Moses said to the congregation, “lest ye be consumed in all their sins.” Mankind’s biggest problem is the sin problem because there is a God who is holy and who must judge sin. There is no escape if you remain under the guilt of your sins, and the only escape is to finds Jesus as your Savior. The Old Testament under the law when people were not forgiven the harshest of punishments were sometimes seen in order to symbolize the final punishment of hell. Read once more the punishment that fell upon Korah, and Dathan, and Abiram, and all their family members and others that joined with them in verses 31-33, “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:[32] 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.[33] 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.” The pit of death that they fell into symbolizes the pit of hell. If you are not saved, you should fear falling into hell. It says in verse thirty-four, “And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.

 

The Bible says in Numbers 16:36-43, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,[37] 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.[38] 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.[39] 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:[40] 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.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43] And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.” In verses thirty-six through forty God wanted the censors of the wicked people to be used to make a covering for the altar so that any time anyone looked at the altar, which was daily, they would remember what happened to those who turned away from God and His truth. They were destroyed and they were burned up with fire. God wants human beings to know that there is a judgment and to fear that judgment. Jesus said in Matthew 23:33, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”

 

Did the children of Israel learn their lesson and remember what God had done in judgment? Did that knowledge help them to change their ways? No. Immediately it says in verse forty-one: “But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron.” Human beings are so sinful and forgetful of God’s blessings. God is the Author of life and death. God could have destroyed them all, but He did not. Were they thankful for the blessings? Did they change their ways? No. They committed the same sin again. That is going to be really for bad them because they were under law. We are under grace because of Jesus. Let’s see if we can appreciate that grace by remembering the judgment from which we have been saved through faith in Christ. May our memory of God compel us to change our ways to serve Him and believe Him.

 

 

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Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved