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April 14, 2011

Numbers 16:13-14

The Rebellion of Korah

Part Three

Rebellion, Delusions, Lies

 and Blaming Leaders

“Is it not enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness, but you would also lord it over us?  Indeed, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor have you given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards.  Would you put out the eyes of these men?  We will not come up!”

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We can discern many things about rebellious hearts and rebellious actions today as we study Numbers 16:13-14.  Moses summoned two of the leaders, Dathan and Abiram (two of the leaders of the conspiracy), to come to him.   We can examine closely their reasons for refusal and learn about their bold rejection of Moses’ call to them.

       Delusions about the Past Dathan and Abiram had delusions about the past. They claimed that Egypt was a place flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 16:13). Before the exodus began, the Egyptians afflicted the people of Israel with rigorous, hard labor and killed their babies (Exodus 1:8-15). But now, Dathan and Abiram claimed Egypt was a land flowing with milk and honey, and by implication, a wonderful place to live. They also made a charge against Moses and Aaron: “you lord it over us (‘כִּי-תִשְׂתָּרֵר עָלֵינוּ, גַּם-הִשְׂתָּרֵר ‘) (Numbers 16:13). This charge of “lording” may remind you of the words of Jesus in the New Testament to His disciples: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). Moses demonstrated servant leadership, and did not lord anything over anyone. Remember, God called him the humblest of all men (Numbers 12:3). People in rebellion often have delusions about the past and make false charges against others in the present.

       Lies about the Present Not only did Dathan and Abiram have delusions about the past in Egypt, but they ignore the reports of Canaan from the spies who clearly testified that the promised land did flow with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27). People in rebellion lie about all sorts of things, but especially about particular facts that they want to ignore. Now, Dathan and Abiram make the charge against Moses that he wants to put their eyes out. They imply that they saw with their own eyes that the promised land did not flow with milk and honey. They also charge that they have not received a land with fields and vineyards, which they may claim as an inheritance.  When people in rebellion start lying and ignoring facts, they are likely to shape their view of reality to support their rebellion.

       Rebels Frequently Blame Leaders for Their Own Sinful Acts.  Notice that the reason the people are not preparing to enter the promised land is because they did not believe the report of Joshua and Caleb, but instead mourned over the report of the other ten spies (Numbers 13:1-33) and they compounded their sinfulness by trying to take the land in disobedience to God’s leading, resulting in defeat and failure (Numbers 14:1-45). So, we should be very careful to avoid this pattern of rebellion, delusions, lying and blaming other people for our sins.

     So we learn more about patterns of sinful behavior.

       ●  Rebellion often leads to seeing the past through delusional eyes.  People often delude themselves, so that they do not remember the harsh realities of the past.

       ●  Rebellion often includes lying to other people about things we know are not true.  We lie about things we want to ignore.

      ●  Rebellion often means we ignore our own sinful behavior, and try to blame other people, and particularly our leaders, for our own sinful behavior. We know that if we confess our sins, then God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Application for Today

        Today I intend to avoid all forms of rebellion.  I will look for signs in my life that I have delusions about the past, or that I am lying and ignoring facts I dislike, or that I am blaming other people for my own sinful acts.  When I spot signs of rebellion in others, I want to love them all the more and encourage them to end their rebellion today.  Confession before the Lord Jesus will bring fidelity and closeness with God.  Will you be walking in love or rebellion today?