“They assembled together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” Numbers 16:3
As we read Numbers 1:47-54 and 3:7-13, we see that the sons of Levi were set apart from the rest of the Israelites to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them. Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, were set apart for the priesthood and chosen to burn incense before the Lord. In Numbers 16, we later read that Korah, Dathan, and Abiram along with two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, start to rebel against Moses and Aaron by challenging and questioning their leadership roles, which the Lord appointed. Korah accused Moses and Aaron of exalting themselves above the assembly of the Lord because God had chosen Moses and Aaron for different purposes than He had chosen for the other Levites.
Moses’ response to Korah’s rebellion was one to be admired. Moses maintained his focus on the Lord because it was the Lord who chose the leadership roles of the assembly. Moses fell on his face as he always did in times of great distress when he called to the Lord in prayer. Since Korah desired to be in the place of Moses and Aaron, Moses told Korah the Lord would reveal who was His chosen. Moses instructed Korah along with those in rebellion with him to perform a ritual that only the chosen Levitical priest who were descendants of Aaron were to perform. They were to prepare to offer incense to the Lord on the following day. Moses also reminded Korah that he and the sons of Levi also had crucial roles. As a son of Levi, Korah was separated from the rest of the congregation for special service and God chose Korah for a specific purpose, so he should not grumble against Aaron who was chosen to serve as a Levitical high priest. Moses called for Dathan and Abiram; however, they refused to meet with him and accused Moses of keeping them from the Promised Land instead of acknowledging their own rebellion that kept them from entering the Promised Land.
The following morning, Korah assembled the congregation against Moses and Aaron at the doorway of the tent of meeting. The glory of the Lord appeared and commanded Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the rebellious congregation. Both Moses and Aaron fell on their faces to plead that the entire congregation would not suffer for Korah, Dathan, Abiram and the two hundred and fifty leaders’ rebellion. Moses then told all who gathered that if the rebellious men died in a manner that was not natural, but instead if the ground opened and swallowed the rebellious and all that is theirs, then all would know the Lord chose him. Subsequently, the ground opened and swallowed Korah and all the men who belong to Korah, as well as Dathan, and Abiram. Fire also consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered the unauthorized incense.
Korah and his rebellious assembly accused Moses and Aaron of exalting themselves when in fact Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and the two hundred and fifty men were exalting themselves against the Lord. Their rebellion revealed their ill intent, selfish ambition, jealousy, and eagerness for power. Although they initially spoke of their concern for the equality of holiness among the congregation, they were not concerned about the will of God, holiness, nor the well-being of the congregation. Their quest for self-exaltation resulted in their death. Selfish ambition, which in essence, is rebelling against the will of God, always leads to destruction. As you pursue endeavors in life, seek to make your ambitions Christ’s ambitions. Seek the Lord and yield to His will for your life. Plans that are contrary to the Lord’s plans will never succeed. Trust the plans the Lord has chosen. Following His will, His purpose, and His plan, will always lead to the path of life and godliness.
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