05/21/Th – Rebellion in the Camp

Numbers 16:1-40; Mark 15:25-32; Psalms 55:1-11; Proverbs 15:24-26

OT: “Now Korah son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took two hundred fifty prominent Israelite men who were leaders of the community and representatives in the assembly, and they rebelled against Moses. They came together against Moses and Aaron and told them, “You have gone too far! Everyone in the entire community is holy, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?” When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers, “Tomorrow morning the Lord will reveal who belongs to him, who is set apart, and the one he will let come near him. He will let the one he chooses come near him. Korah, you and all your followers are to do this: take firepans, and tomorrow place fire in them and put incense on them before the Lord. Then the man the Lord chooses will be the one who is set apart. It is you Levites who have gone too far!” …Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not come! Is it not enough that you brought us up from a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? Do you also have to appoint yourself as ruler over us? Furthermore, you didn’t bring us to a land flowing with milk and honey or give us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you gouge out the eyes of these men? We will not come!” …The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, all Korah’s people, and all their possessions. They went down alive into Sheol with all that belonged to them. The earth closed over them, and they vanished from the assembly… Fire also came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were presenting the incense.” (‭‭Numbers‬ ‭16:1-7, 12-14, 32-33, 35‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Korah was a prominent Levite of the line of Kohath. The Kohathites had the great honor and responsibility of caring for and carrying the holy furniture of the tabernacle. Korah was not satisfied with his elevated status. He wanted more – so he staged a rebellion against Moses and Aaron to try and leverage power away from them. Korah presented his complaint as a lofty desire for social equity in the camp: God had called the entire nation of Israel, so all of Israel was holy… everyone deserved to be equally honored. What Korah was really after was for He and his family to have the same privileges as Aaron and his sons… He wanted the priesthood. He was able to  form a rebellion of 250 prominent men from among the camp, along with Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram even went so far as to blame Moses for all of the consequences of their own faithless choices. Instead of defending himself, Moses allowed God to defend him – and God did just that. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, along with their families, were swallowed up by the earth, and the 250 rebellious men were consumed in holy fire. As terrible as the outcome of this rebellion was, it did produce a redemptive story. Numerous Psalms are attributed to the Sons of Korah. Even though God punished Korah’s rebellion, He did not hold that rebellion against Korah’s descendants – and they became faithful followers of God and penned some of the Bible’s most beautiful and worshipful psalms. The man who rebelled against God’s established authority had descendants who wrote, “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for You, O God.”

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