After the rebellion of Korah, we read about Aaron standing between the dead and the living. What an interesting display. Aaron stood between the dead and the living with the incense burning to purify the people. This incense was to make the people right with the Lord. He stood between them and the plague stopped.
This display foreshadows what is to come. Jesus Christ stands between God and us sinners, just as Aaron stood between the living people and the dead people. Remember, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). So we are the dead. God is life, we are dead in our transgressions. But Jesus Christ stands between God and us. He is the Lamb of God. He is our mediator. He is our High Priest. The Bible says that “He lives forever to intercede with God on (our) behalf.” He offered a “once for all” sacrifice. This sacrifice of His blood makes us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18, Revelation 7:14). We are right with God because we are clothed in His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
Today, remember Who stands between you and God. Remember the High Priest that we have- “He is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven.” Worship Him. Praise His great name. In Christ alone, my hope is found.
“He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague stopped.” – Numbers 16:48 [NLT]
“Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. He is the kind of high priest we need because He is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when He offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.” – Hebrews 7:25-27 [NLT]
When Korah had a problem with Moses and Aaron, it wasn’t a matter of taking it to Moses and Aaron and dealing with it. Ironically, the problem wasn’t with Moses and Aaron, but with God, because He was the One Who put these two men in their positions. Nonetheless, Korah stirred up the entire community against Moses and Aaron.
We were created to be communal people. We have friends. We have people we go to about our problems, our worries, our joys, and life in general. Sometimes we get upset with someone, and we take that to our friends. In doing so, we often stir them up. It makes us feel better. Our friends agree with us. We have someone on our side. But what does it do to help the situation? Where is the relief? Now your friend is sharing your opinions about someone. Your friend is thinking poorly about this person who wronged you. By sharing all this, you have stirred up the pot. Now there is something between you and this other person, and something is between your friend and this other person. Stumbling blocks and more stumbling blocks. Imagine if your friend tells another person. Before you know it, everyone knows what this person did to you.
Proverbs 16:28 speaks about a troublemaker planting seeds of strife. This is exactly what Korah did– planted seeds of strife. We are called to be peacemakers, not troublemakers. If we are too busy making trouble, we will never be able to make peace. Remember, the fire goes out without wood. When you get upset with someone, go to the person and make peace. Ask the Lord to help you to forgive. Allow the fire to go out. Keep the peace. You will be blessed (Matthew 5:9).
“Meanwhile, Korah had stirred up the entire community against Moses and Aaron, and they all gathered at the Tabernacle entrance. Then the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to the whole community.” – Numbers 16:19 [NLT]
“A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.” – Proverbs 16:28 [NLT]
“Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.” – Proverbs 26:20 [NLT]
God selected Moses and Aaron for special roles in leading His people. He also set apart the whole community of Israel. They were God’s chosen people, His special people. In Numbers 16, we read about the rebellion of Korah. The people united against Moses and Aaron. They stood up and claimed two things. The first was true- that all of the people of Israel are set apart. The second part was about greatness. Korah asked why Moses and Aaron acted like they were greater than the rest of the LORD’s people.
We don’t read a bunch of text talking about Moses and Aaron having pride issues. But Korah took the faithfulness of these brothers and made it seem as if they were acting as if they were above the people. The truth was that God placed them in a position above them. Korah was also in a special position. Verse 9 speaks about how they had this great position that allowed them to be near the Lord. However, that wasn’t enough for them. Moses and Aaron had a larger role in their eyes. As a result, they incited a rebellion.
Moses and Aaron allowed the Lord to intercede. Moses understood that it was God Who selected those who enter the presence of the Lord. Moses was a mere man. He also spoke about his calling and recalled “all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own.” He pointed to God as the One. God was behind everything. God allowed everything. It was Korah who had “gone too far.” Today, remember that God places each person in a position. Wherever He places you, rejoice in that position. Be thankful that He wants to use you. May you be a faithful, humble servant of the Lord!
“They united against Moses and Aaron and said, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the LORD, and He is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the LORD’s people?’ Then he said to Korah and his followers, ‘Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence.” And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things that I have done–for I have not done them on my own.’” – Numbers 16:3, 5, 28 [NLT]
One of my favorite proverb is Proverbs 16:9: “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (NIV). We make our plans. God determines our steps. Often, we think we know better. We have these ideas or desires, and of course, it’s the greatest thing ever. We have to do it. We get nudges from the Spirit that there’s another way. We close our ears. We say, “Wouldn’t it be better.” We second guess the God Most High.
God was leading His people. The people did not always want to follow. They asked, “Why is the LORD taking us to this country,” because they couldn’t see the faithfulness of the Lord, or the goodness of the plan. We only see small glimpses or get a promise to go on. We cry out, “Wouldn’t it be better for us” to return to our past situation. We know the past. We are familiar with how it works. We think it might be better.
God calls us to better. Not our “better,” but His better. It might take us through some horrid wilderness. We might need to learn from our stubbornness. We may have to remove the log in our eye. Perhaps, He wants to show us a few things. But the best is coming. Not the better—not what we think will be good. We cannot even imagine what He has for us (see 1 Corinthians 2:9). The next time you consider a wouldn’t it be better scenario, consider with Who you are talking about “better.” Do you not think He knows about better?
“Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” – Numbers 14:3 [NLT]
After the scouts returned and ten men gave a bad report, the Israelites were not eager to press forward. Actually, they were considering the idea of selecting another leader to lead them back to Egypt. Yes, the people wanted to go back to their slavery in Egypt instead of the Promised Land. Talk about trust issues.
Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who were confident in the promises of God, tore their robes and fell to the ground. They spoke to the congregation only to have the people desire to stone them. Then God spoke. Moses pleaded with the Lord on the people’s behalf. God promised that none of the people would enter the Promised Land, but Joshua and Caleb. The people were to turn around and head back by way of the Red Sea. Punishment was poured out. Moses shared with the people what the Lord said. The people mourned. The next morning, they decided they were ready to enter the Promised Land, so rather than turn around as the Lord commanded, they pressed forward into disobedience and were defeated.
God’s timing is the timing that matters. He has everything beautifully orchestrated. There are moments He commands us to do something, and time passes before we obey. It is not supposed to be like that—when we hear the command of God, we should respond accordingly. Dragging feet is not permitted. But this was worse than dragging feet. When God commanded the people to turn around, they willfully disobeyed. When we are ready, we should be ready for whatever God has placed before us. The option of what we receive and when we receive it is always is in the hands of God. We shouldn’t answer, “Now we are ready” after His commands. Instead, our response should always be, “We are ready now” the moment of His command.
“Then they got up early the next morning and went to the top of the range of hills. ‘Let’s go,’ they said. ‘We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to enter the land the LORD has promised us.’” – Numbers 14:40 [NLT]
After the twelve spies surveyed the land, only two came back with a good report. Ten men came back to share their fear of the strong people of the land. When the people were speaking negatively about the situation, Caleb boldly stepped forward. The Bible says that he “silenced the people before Moses.” He exclaimed, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30 NIV).
Caleb trusted the One behind the promise. He trusted God. Ten of the spies couldn’t look past the problems they saw with the land. They couldn’t imagine that God would see them through, that God would deliver on His promise. They were stopped in their tracks, stopped by mere men.
God says that Caleb had “a different attitude than the others have.” He also was called loyal. His loyalty didn’t change with circumstances. He was loyal. Some of us have an attitude problem today. We have the attitude of the ten, instead of the attitude of Caleb; we have an attitude of fear and distrust, rather than an attitude of trust and confidence. The Bible speaks of this hope—this confidence—we should have as believers. We should be confidence for judgment day (1 John 4:17-18). We should have confidence for prayer (1 John 5:14). We should be confident His plan is perfect and He desires what is good for His children (Romans 8:28). We should be confident that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). May the Lord be your confidence (see Proverbs 3:26, Job 4:6).
“But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.” – Numbers 14:24 [NLT]
“And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” – 2 Corinthians 1:10 [NLT]
The Lord tells Moses to gather some men together to scout the Promised Land, the land He was giving them. When He makes the request, He even restates that He is giving this land to the Israelites. They were to simply walk through the land and bring back their report with some fruit. When the men came back, ten of the twelve men were not eager to enter the land.
Though God already stated numerous times that He was giving the land to them, the men didn’t want to pursue the promise. Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who spoke of what this great land boasted. It was described as a land that was flowing with milk and honey. The fruit was so large, two men had to carry it back. Yet instead of focusing on the promise of God, ten of the men focused on the people who were strong, much stronger than the Israelites. They even spoke of giants. Beside these giants they “felt like grasshoppers.”
How often do you feel like a grasshopper when God calls you forward? How many times do you look at the giants, and turn in the other direction? How many times do you allow the lies of this world to keep you from embracing the promises of God? Whatever He promises, He will be deliver. We can choose to be grasshoppers, or we can choose to rise up and be the sons and daughters of God. He has called YOU forward. Rise up my friend.
“We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” – Numbers 13:33 [NLT]
Aaron and Miriam appear green with envy in Numbers 12, when they begin to criticize Moses, and speak about how the Lord speaks to them also. What was so great about Moses?!? The Lord commanded the three siblings to meet at the Tabernacle. Then He spoke to them about Moses. “He is the one I trust,” He said. “I speak to him face to face,” He said. “He sees the LORD as He is,” He said.
The Bible tells us that Moses was humble. He was “very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.” Now that’s humility! If we’d look up humility in the dictionary, perhaps we’d find Moses picture. God tells the siblings that it is Moses He trusts, Moses He speaks to face to face. Then He said that Moses sees Him as He is. Imagine that. Moses saw the LORD as He is. He saw Him. How did this happen? Moses was humble. In his humility, he desired to know the LORD deeply. He realized he was nothing without God, and he lived a life devoted to Him. God rewarded his humility. God revealed Himself to Moses in an intimate way.
If you find yourself not knowing much about God, not knowing God intimately, maybe you are not approaching with a humble heart—a heart that longs for God. Jesus gave us the perfect example of the humble servant. When we are able to empty ourselves, rid ourselves of self, we can focus on Him. We can listen more closely to Him. Our hearts are more open to Him. Today, ask God to help you to rid yourself of yourself. Ask for Him to help you become more humble so you desire and seek after Him.
“(Now Moses was very humble–more humble than any other person on earth.) But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the LORD as He is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” – Numbers 12:3, 7-8 [NLT]
Kibroth-hattaavah means “graves of gluttony.” It was given this name because of all of the people who were buried there that craved the meat that was served in Egypt. After God led His people out of the bondage of the Egyptians, the Israelites grumbled. They complained and said, “Oh, for some meat.” God’s provision was not enough. The people were rejecting the Lord. They even said that they “were better off in Egypt.”
As a result of their rejection of the Lord and His provisions, they received what was on their hearts. They received meat, more meat than they probably imagined. So much meat was provided that it was promised: “You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it.” When the meat was delivered, they did not humble themselves, repent for their sin, and thank the Lord. Instead, they gorged themselves on the meat. The anger of the LORD “blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague.”
The people were so fixated on the provisions and promises of God, rather than God Himself. It was more about what they could get, than Who they could be involved with in a relationship. Rather than accepting the God of the Universe, they wanted meat that provided temporary satisfaction. Today, consider what you want. Are you desiring something temporary, or something eternal? Are you focused on God or on the provisions of God? Are you trying to fill yourself up with God or with something else?
“But while they were gorging themselves on the meat–while it was still in their mouths–the anger of the LORD blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague. – So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means ‘graves of gluttony’) because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt.” – Numbers 11:33-34 [NLT]
Moses appointed seventy leaders and they were recognized as elders and leaders of Israel. These people were going to receive the Spirit of the Lord, and they would help to bear the burden. Later we read of Eldad and Medad prophesying. After it was witnessed, word was brought to Moses. Joshua even told Moses to “make them stop.” People seemed bothered by these others doing something Moses did.
When Moses was approached, I love his response. He said, “I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them all.” Though the people were upset that others would share this gift, Moses had hoped all of God’s people had this gift. He understood that God could work in mighty ways through these people, that it wasn’t the Moses show, but rather, all about God.
What’s really awesome is that the wish of Moses is true! It became a reality when the Holy Spirit was poured out to all believers. Jesus asked the Father to give us the Advocate (see John 14:16). Today, anyone who invites Jesus Christ into their heart will receive the Spirit of God. There should never be a reason to be upset that another has received the Spirit. We, too, should have the same desire of Moses – that all would have His Spirit. Heaven rejoices at each soul saved. We should as well.
“But Moses replied, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them all!’” – Numbers 11:29 [NLT]