THE LIFE OF MOSES – LESSON 35
When the ten scouts (spies) gave the evil report of Canaan, the people rebelled against Moses and God punished them. Now we move forward to the midpoint of their wanderings. In James Ussher’s writings he places this about twenty years after leaving Egypt.
There is another rebellion against Moses and Aaron described in Numbers 16. The leaders of the rebellion were Korah, who was a Levite dedicated to serving the priesthood and taking care of the tabernacle, along with three men of the tribe of Reuben: Dathan, Abiram, and On. In verse 3 they accused Moses and Aaron of lifting themselves up above everyone else.
Korah seemed to feel that he and the Levites had just as much authority in religious matters as Aaron and his sons. The Reubenites may have felt that since they descended from the eldest brother (oldest son of Abraham) that leadership positions over Israel should be given to them. They were joined by 250 princes (leaders) of the tribes.
Moses put this matter to the test the next day. He said Jehovah would show who is holy and who His leaders and priests were. They were all to take their censors with incense and fire to the tabernacle. The people of the congregation gathered for this event.
Moses then admonished the people to separate from them lest they be consumed. He said if these men were to ever die a natural death, then God had not sent him, but if the earth were to open her mouth (v. 30) and swallow them up, then they all would understand that God had sent Moses and Aaron. It would show that these men and the 250 princes had provoked God.
Then the earth opened and swallowed the four leaders of the rebellion alive. All the people watching fled away in fear that they would also be swallowed up. The LORD then sent down fire which consumed the 250 princes.
The LORD told Moses he wanted to consume the rest of the congregation and put a plague on them. Moses interceded once again to spare them. Aaron made atonement for the sin of their rebellion, and with his censor and incense stood between the living and the dead. God stayed the plague but not before 14,700 of them had died of the plague.
The lesson for us is that we should never come against the anointed leadership that God has placed in the church through the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. If you have an issue with one of them, go talk to them about it in person and not behind their back.
The scriptures tell us in I Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15, “Touch not mine anointed. Do my prophets (five-fold ministry) no harm.” Even David would not harm King Saul who sought to kill him because he had been God’s anointed king.
Be careful what you say against God’s anointed leaders even if you question their anointing.
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