April 16, 2011
The Rebellion of Korah
Spurning the LORD
“But if the LORD brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned the LORD.”
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Have you ever seen someone spurn another person? Spurning means that you reject that person, and often add criticism, contempt, or scorn. In this passage, we have seen Korah, Dathan and Abiram challenge the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Subject to delusions and given to lying, Dathan and Abiram have rejected the summons of Moses. Moses then became very angry at their untrue statements, and summoned Korah and all his company to assemble before the doorway to the tent of meeting. The LORD spoke to Moses, and told Moses He was about to kill the congregation. Moses interceded for the people, and the LORD told Moses to have the congregation separate themselves from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.
Knowing the Deeds of God. Moses specifically told the entire congregation that God sent Moses to do the deeds of God; Moses did not do those things himself (Numbers 16:28). God wants you to know when He acts. He wants you to know that He takes very specific actions in your life, and you should appreciate those things, every day. In this case, God wanted it to be very clear that He opposed Korah, Dathan and Abiram. They had spurned Moses and Aaron, and by implication the Lord Jesus (Yahweh = LORD = Lord Jesus). Now the Lord Jesus rejects them, emphatically and finally.
Spurning the LORD. Moses told the entire congregation that Korah, Dathan and Abiram had spurned (“נִאֲצוּ”) the LORD. They had spurned the LORD by rejecting the leadership of Moses and Aaron, and also by refusing to respond to the summons of Moses. In essence, they had swept the entire congregation away in their own sinful lies and delusions. When you think about the Creator of this entire universe being spurned by men, you understand the gravity of their actions. More particularly, God has led them graciously out of Egyptian bondage, fed them and sustained them on their journey. Their sin in shrinking back from God’s leading them into the promised land governed their lives. Now, they compounded their sin by seeking to reject Moses and spurn the LORD.
Death Penalty Imposed. Today many people really hate the death penalty. God never took pleasure in the death of the wicked, but He prefers always that they repent and live (Ezekiel 18:32; 2 Peter 3:9). As Moses finished speaking all these words, the ground under Korah, Dathan and Abiram split open, and they, along with their households and belongings, went alive down into Sheol. The rest of the congregation fled, crying out that the earth may swallow them also (Numbers 16:31-34). Fire also consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense (Numbers 16:35). Never forget that the Lord Jesus Christ sternly rejects men who spurn His leadership.
So we learn more about spurning the LORD today.
● Rebellion amounts to spurning the Lord Jesus Christ, and His leadership in our lives. It can be very contagious, and bring deadly results.
● In His great love, mercy and grace, the Lord Jesus took the death penalty each of us deserved. He died in my place. If I will keep that in mind, I will understand why He is never eager for anyone to live or die in rebellion against Him.
● Korah, Dathan and Abiram led their families and their followers into Sheol, and separation from God. We should remember their rebellion and learn from their negative example, of the positive holiness of God.
Application for Today
Today I will remember the consequences of rebellion for Korah, Dathan and Abiram. My life will always influence other people, but will it be for good or bad? Will I lead others to fellowship with God, or rebellion? As I seek to avoid all rebellion against God, I will live with memories of God’s absolute holiness. Will the holiness of God influence your life today?