Archive for July 2nd, 2009

Numbers 16

Numbers 16 is a rather graphic lesson in what happens when people violate God’s leadership and grumble against it. It is sort of like the showdown at the Tent of Meetings. Kohar “getting on his high horse” decides to challenge Moses and Aaron. He shows up with 250 of the finest in the tribe of Levi who are ministers to the people. They are determined to “rebel against Moses” and they ask “why do you act like you’re running the whole show”? Bad decision on their part. You see, they have been selected by God “to bring you near him to serve in the ministries….and to stand before the congregation to minister to them”. They were a chosen group and were to serve. But they were under the leadership of Aaron and Moses, and their decision of rebellion and “badmouthing Aaron” was a very poor one. They accuse Moses of “now you keep trying to boss us around…. you haven’t produced”. More bad decisions. They are digging a very deep hole as you will soon see.

“Moses’ temper blazed white-hot”. He is ticked off. Rightfully so as the people have continually tested his patience with their attitude and now the leadership of the Tent is doing the same. So Moses challenges these guys to a dual. Show up tomorrow and let’s see who God favors. He has no doubt – he knows that God is on his side. “It was Korah and his gang against Moses and Aaron at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting”. God shows up too and is more than slightly annoyed. God is going to wipe out the entire congregation – He has had enough. Moses and Aaron intercede and convince God to only deal with Korah, Dathan and Abiram who were the ring leaders. Moses tells them that everyone would know who was favored if the trio died before their natural time had come and before he finished speaking the “earth opened its mouth and in one gulp swallowed them down”. These men, their families and all they owned were gone in a heartbeat. Moments later the 250 were cremated by lightning as God expressed His displeasure with their attitudes and actions. One would think that would send a pretty strong message to the people wouldn’t you? But check out what happens: “grumbling broke out the next day”. Not 24 hours later the people are grumbling about Moses. God has really had it and announces a plague. Moses and Aaron again intercede and the way they were to stop the plague was to run into the mass of people with their censor so Aaron goes a running. “He stood there between the living and the dead and stopped the plague”. That is real intercession. Getting between the people and the punishment. Jesus is our intercessor today. He stands between us and the sin with it’s punishment – eternal separation from God. I am amazed at the love Moses and Aaron have for an ungrateful people. It would have been so much easier to just let God wipe them out. 14,700 died before Aaron could get there to stop the plague, so don’t wonder if God was serious. He has to deal with disobedience and sin, and the penalty is death. That is clear in scripture. And that death means a separation from Him. Jesus is the way for us to deal with sin. He is the intercessor who will stand between us and our punishment. But we have to receive Him. Have you?

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