Acknowledging the Judgment of God
“But on the next day all the congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘You are the ones who have caused the death of the Lord’s people.’” Numbers 16:41
The next day after the Lord judged the rebellion of Korah and his company, the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron and said that they were the ones who caused the death of the Lord’s people. When the Israelites assembled against Moses and Aaron, the glory of the Lord appeared as a cloud to immediately consume the Israelites.
Considering how quickly the Israelites resumed their grumbling, as well as placing blame on Moses and Aaron for the death of Korah and his company, demonstrated how lightly the Israelites viewed sin and God’s judgment towards sin. They did not consider the great sin of rebellion committed by Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and the two hundred and fifty leaders, but they instead sought to cause another uproar and act of rebellion against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites did not acknowledge how the Lord demonstrated and confirmed His chosen leaders, as He opened the ground to swallow Korah and his company, and brought fire to consume the two hundred and fifty leaders. The Israelites disregarded the judgment of God against sin and spoke favorably towards the rebellion by blaming Moses and Aaron and by addressing Korah and his followers as, “the Lord’s people.” Moses and Aaron were “the Lord’s people” whom the Lord had chosen as leaders of the Israelites for specific service to Him. The Israelites, in their rebellion, held firm to their belief of their autonomous holiness, just as Korah and his company did. The Lord responded with judgment in the form of a plague, which killed 14,700. If Moses and Aaron had not intervened with cries of repentance and atonement on behalf of the Israelites, they would have experienced continued destruction.
The events in this passage should evoke an acknowledgment of the magnitude of sin and the subsequent judgment of God. To dismiss the actions of sin that lead to the Lord’s judgment is to take rebellion against the Lord’s will as something to be taken lightly or regarded as not important. The judgment of the Lord is the result of disobedience to Him. He is demonstrating His wrath and anger in response to disobedience towards Him. When the Israelites did not acknowledge the sin of Korah and his followers, they in essence were stating that they agreed with Korah’s actions and that the Lord was not correct in choosing Moses and Aaron or that they did not care to follow the Lord’s will. The Israelites’ actions reflected opposition towards the Lord and hatred towards the Lord’s leaders, Moses and Aaron, whom they believed were the true problem.
As you think about the Israelites’ actions, do you recognize and acknowledge the magnitude of sin? Do you recognize and acknowledge the judgment of God towards sin? The Lord is just in His actions and our attitude towards His actions demonstrates what we truly believe about Him and about disobedience towards Him. When you recognize the judgment of God towards sin, do not condone sin and seek to blame the means that the Lord chooses to punish sin. Instead, acknowledge and revere the judgment of God and do as Moses and Aaron did; cry out in repentance and plead for the Lord’s mercy on the one(s) who sinned against the one, true Holy God.
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