Nancy Houston left a great comment yesterday that I wanted to share before we start with today’s notes:
I appreciated following up on this reference. I Cor 10:5-12 (abbreviated) …with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters… Nor let us act immorally… Nor let us try the Lord… Nor grumble… Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction… Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
In relation to that we learn the consequences of defiantly following after own heart & eyes… being cut off (permanently forever). Then the Scripture shows us an example of a seemingly innocent man gathering wood on sabbath. At least that was my initial thought. But everyone knew the commandment… no work on Sabbath! Yet he is out and about doing his own thing… following his own heart and in the end suffering an excruciating death.
Was his family present? Had his wife begged him to stay home? What had he taught his children about Sabbath? Did his father watch? Our defiant sin will affect more than just us. The next section tells them to make tassels “to look at and remember all the commandments… so as to do them and not follow after your own heart… be holy to your God” (Num 15:39-40). Initially, I read these sections at 3 separate thoughts, but I see them as continuous now as a warning about defiance toward God. Then YHWH provides a tangible reminder for them to have to help them. I see our Father’s love beyond His righteous judgment! Beauty out of such pain! It wasn’t His desire for that man to die.
GOOD MORNING, Siblings! Let us see what Father has for us today ❤️
Reading for today: Numbers 16-17
Today we see what happens when a group of people, who have been redeemed by YHWH, decide to try to usurp His authority, and essentially give up the redemption they had received.
And we also get to see what happens when we really get YHWH mad.
And if anyone gasped at the thought of Him getting mad, I’m not sure where you’ve been the past month and a half.
So lets get into Korah. First of all, we are going to mentally remove the chapter and verse numbers again and start with the last part of the previous chapter, then flow on into the first part of this one so we can wrap our heads around the context a little better.
YHWH said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am YHWH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am YHWH.
Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of YHWH?” Numbers 15:37-16:3
So you can see why many scholars believe it was the commandment for all of Israel to wear Tzitzit that set Korah to thinking that they were every bit as holy and worthy of the priesthood and leadership as Moses and Aaron – and to challenge their authority. I can certainly see that as a plausible scenario.
You’ll recall yesterday that right after we finished reading about unintentional sin, intentional sin, and the man willfully disobeying YHWH on the Sabbath- YHWH decided that we, thick headed as we are, needed something to help us remember to keep His commandments, and so He gave us Tzitzit as a memory device. Or as Ricky calls them, “The original What Would Jesus Do bracelet”.
Numbers 16:1 Back to Korah. Oh my mercy, this man had some nerve! Now here is the deal, Korah was a Levite, but He was not a direct descendant of the line of Aaron and therefore he was not allowed to be a priest but to serve in other roles regarding the tabernacle. He was joined by Dathan and Abiram.
How did they all get tangled up together?
They were camped together. Korah was from Kohath and Dathan and Abiram were from the tribe of Reuben. Here is that map again for you to see.
They were also joined by 250 more men who were chief among their clans.
Y’all everyone wants to have the power but few want to take the risk and do the work associated with it, they just want the sparkle. These are not the type of men YHWH chooses – He chooses the humble. That is His pattern. YHWH is a God of patterns.
Many people say we cannot know Him or His ways but those people have never read this book because He gave it to us so that we can know those very things. He WANTS us to know Him. He is calling us into relationship with Him. Each day we must choose how we will answer that call. Each day. Each step. Each breath.
We go on to see direct vocal and physical defiance of the authority of Moses. Korah specifically wanted the priesthood that belonged to Aaron. This was a direct rebellion against the authority of YHWH.
Numbers 16:9-11 From reading the text, it is pretty clear that these people thought they are going up against Moses and Aaron, this is who they were rebelling against in their mind. However, their thoughts and intentions did not change the reality – that they were going directly against YHWH.
Numbers 16:15 Moses’ hands were truly clean and He was able to profess as much. I don’t know if y’all have ever been in a situation where someone accused you of something (be it gossip, dishonesty, etc) but let me tell you, when you walk in obedience to the Father, you’ll find that if these situations ever arise in your life, the Father rushes in with your clear, irrefutable defense. Walking in His way is a protection in every way possible in our lives. You will never be able to know all the ways your life is blessed by following Him but you’ll surely find new blessings around every corner for the duration of your time in this life!
In verse 16:21 Notice that only Moses and Aaron heard God speak, otherwise the men who were assembled there would have fled.
With all of these people challenging the authority YHWH had given Moses, Moses let them know that it was YHWH, not himself, that had put him in that position. He basically said “If y’all think I put myself here, then just wait. Something is going to happen that can only come from the hand of YHWH to show you otherwise.” (And Boy did it!)
Yet again, YHWH was going to show the people that Moses had not made himself leader, but had been appointed by YHWH Himself.
16:33 Sheol means “the grave”. This is no small thing. This word is translated various ways at different times in the Bible. We will see a fuller picture as we move forward but know that this is a very complex concept made more so by our own doing throughout the centuries.
It is very important that we realize that those in rebellion were a redeemed people. YHWH had brought them out of Egypt and then redeemed them as His own. They were actually chosen to be His own ministers as members of the tribe of Levi. These were literally the set apart from the set apart! But they chose to rebel against Him and rejected their redemption in doing so. Wow.
Numbers 16:48 I want to give you with this image that stems from Aaron standing between the dead and the living, stopping the plague:
Messiah stands between life and death for us.
Numbers 17:5 How many signs does the Father have to give before the people will see that HE is the one ruling them? Unfortunately, then, as it is now, always one more.
YHWH sees that the people have misdirected the credit for who is truly leading them to Moses. Now this may seem a “little” okay but here is what He has taught me personally about that. When I started reading the Bible for myself, seeing that the Word didn’t always line up with what I had been taught, I pretty much went through the stages of grief. At first I was shocked, then hurt, then angry. I finally had to work past all of that and realize that I had a lot of work to do because I had not taken my responsibility as a Believer seriously in my lack of diligence with studying the Word of our Father. But I kept talking to Him about the parts of the Bible that were openly contradicted by popular opinion and saying “Father, what do I do? I can’t tell people this. They won’t hear this from me.” I prayed this for weeks and one day He spoke to my heart and said “You get them to read my Word and you let Me tell them.”
That was the answer I was looking for. A word from Christy Jordan is easily dismissed – and rightfully so! But when we read the Word directly and see that it is the Father speaking to us, that is not so easily cast aside and when it is, the person has to first face that they are dismissing the Father Himself. We are not to make ourselves middle men or train people to look to us in lieu of looking to the Bible. There is no such thing as a second hand relationship with the Father. Our job as Believers, if we are to walk in His wisdom, is to lead people directly to the source and show them how to drink for themselves.
What had happened to Israel is that they were crediting Moses with their losses and wins, their blessings and curses. The Father saw this and took steps to make sure that the people knew if they had a problem, they didn’t have a problem with Moses, they had a problem with Him. A problem with Moses may start a rebellion- but once they realize who they are really dealing with, hearts change and feet back up a few steps.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!
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