Chapter 16 — WHO the heck was Korah? According to the BLB, he was the son of Izhar, grandson of Kohath, great grandson of Levi and leader of the rebellion of the Israelites against Moses and Aaron while in the wilderness. It also tells us that Korah was the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath in Numbers 16:1.
Genesis 46:11 tells us that the sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Exodus 6:18 tells us that the sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzzel. Exodus 6:20 tells us that Aaron, and Moses were the children of Amram and Jochebed. Exodus 15:20 tells us that Miriam was the sister of Aaron (and Moses see Numbers 12:1, plus remember she put Moses’ in a basket in the Nile for Pharaoh’s daughter to find in Exodus 2.) Numbers 3:19 tells us that the Kohathite clans were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
Numbers 4:4 tells us that the work of the Kohathites at the tent of meeting was the care of the MOST HOLY THINGS …. Remember the Kohathites had to CARRY THE MOST HOLY THINGS ON THEIR SHOULDERS; they could NOT touch the MOST HOLY THINGS. KORAH was part of the KOHATHITE clan!!
Now that we KNOW who Korah was, it might also be helpful to know he was Miriam’s, Aaron’s, and Moses’ cousin. He was a Levite. Remember that all the Levites were called to care for the Tabernacle/Tent of Meeting, but ONLY Aaron and his descendants could be the priests. Korah and his group of “merry men” became “insolent and rose up against Moses.” Ummmmmm… remember the 10th Commandment…. Thou shalt NOT covet??? WELLLLLLL… Korah had a good job with good responsibilities. BUT HE REMEMBERED ALL the advantages the pagan priests in Egypt had (money, political power, and authority). He ASSUMED Moses, Aaron, and all Aaron’s descendants had the same privileges as the pagan priests in Egypt and he WANTED IT NOW!! HE WANTED it SO BADLY that he gathered his group of “merry men” who ALL rebelled not just against Moses, but against God!!! Korah and his men had NO idea (and probably could not have comprehended) that Moses’ heart was ALL about serving God and doing God’s will.
Korah was correct in saying that the whole community was holy, and the Lord was with them (at least that was God’s original intent), but his inappropriate ambition and warped thinking about Moses and Aaron living a life like the pagan priests in Egypt was TOTALLY a LIE from the pit of HELL!! Korah had become NOTHING but GREEDY and COVETOUS. Moses confronted Korah and told him: “It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banned together.” Notice that Moses talked to GOD FIRST and then the people!!
In ALL of the accusations from Korah, Moses STILL humbly went before the Lord in prayer …. Face to the ground. The LORD was VERY angry and ready to kill ALL of the Israelites again due to their own actions of grumbling, complaining, and now covetousness. Moses asked God to please not take HIS anger out on the entire assembly. God answered BUT the ACTIONS of KORAH and his “merry men” had SEVERE CONSEQUENCES….. First… Moses was to tell all the people who were not Korahites to back away from them… do not touch them… do not get near them… do not touch their possessions. THEN 250 Korahites and his supporters were SWALLOWED up alive by the earth and then buried as the earth covered itself up with them in it. WOOOOO…. That one makes ya think doesn’t it!!!???
NOW.. you would think the rest of the survivors would have heard, seen, felt, smelled, and even tasted the dust from the earth moving and “gotten the message.” Eleazar was one of the surviving sons of Aaron who probably had a deep respect for his job and what had just happened since 2 of his brothers were dead because they played with inappropriate fire!! BUT…. No sooner had Eleazar completed melting the censers down into metal sheets as reminders to the people as to what happened to Korah and company …. The Israelites began GRUMBLING and COMPLAINING AGAIN…. And doing so against Moses!!! The censers were holy and were used to carry the coals and incense for the altar.
Here is what a censer would look like today:
The Israelites BLAMED Moses for killing Korah and company (obviously they could have done NOTHING WRONG and it HAD to be ALL KORAH’s fault… AND MOSES… NOT THEIR OWN.) Then the glory of the Lord descended upon the Tent of Meeting and again the Lord was ready to kill the remaining Israelites and start fresh.
Moses humbly responded in prayer again, and asked Aaron to take his censer (quick like a bunny), put incense in it, and make atonement for everyone. Before Aaron could begin his task, the plague had already started. Aaron in verse 47 “stood between the living and the dead and the plague STOPPED.” However, another 14,700 people DIED from the plague due to the grumbling and complaining for the Israelites. HOLY SMOKE BAT MAN!! 🙂
Moses and Aaron’s INTERCESSION is a PARALLEL to the way Jesus our HIGH PRIEST intercedes on our behalf when we don’t make the brightest moves or when we are in so much pain we simply don’t know how to pray.
Although Psalm 106 is not part of our reading today take a look at what it says about the events of this day in Numbers:
But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wilderness they put God to the test.
15 So he gave them what they asked for,
but sent a wasting disease among them.
16 In the camp they grew envious of Moses
and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord.
17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan;
it buried the company of Abiram.
18 Fire blazed among their followers;
a flame consumed the wicked.
Chapter 17 – The Lord wanted the people to REMEMBER, have a visual reminder of what had just happened. He wanted the grumbling and complaining to STOP. Moses acquired the 12 staffs from the 12 tribes of Israel as well as Aaron’s staff at God’s request (remember the Levites were listed in the 12 tribes because they were the priests and the people chosen to take care of the Tabernacle.) Moses wrote each leader’s name on their staff and wrote Aaron’s on his.
“The staff belonging to the man I CHOOSE will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.”
The next day Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron’s staff had not only sprouted … it had budded, blossomed and produced almonds!!!! It was to be kept as a sign TO THE REBELLIOUS!! A little information about almonds… they are NOT self-pollinating and take 5 years to harvest!!! And the staffs were NOT EVEN ALIVE OR PLANTED IN THE GROUND!!!
This short chapter is a reminder to us that God chooses who He chooses, and sometimes it’s not us He chooses. You may remember (may not) that I mentioned there were 3 things inside the Ark of the Covenant. The 2 tablets with the 10 Commandments from Mt Sinai, a collection of manna (God said keep to show your children that I really did provide for you in the desert and Aaron’s budded staff). Well here we are, God will let the people know that Yes, He chose Aaron as High Priest by having his dead wooden rotted staff not only bud flowers but Almonds!
In case you catch yourself wondering “but how could these people be soooooo stuck on stupid?” Just look at our world today. So many people have taken their eyes off of God and we have become a very “ME ME ME ME” society/world. We can escape this pattern ONLY by paying attention to ALL the signs of God’s presence (none the least of which are JESUS CHRIST, HIS WORD and HIS HOLY SPIRIT) that we have been given in our lives… especially when life is “not going the way we planned.” God IS STILL IN CONTROL. HE IS STILL THE ALMIGHTY GOD who LOVES us with HIS pure AGAPE love… unconditional love. He still performs miracles in our lives today.
I see HIS miracles in my life with my husband’s job, money to tithe, money for food and our bills, when a baby is born, when my puppies snuggle and play with me, when my husband tells me he loves me.. even after 24 years, when we have friends and family who love us… when HE gives me the words to write this blog…. And SOOOOO much more.
GOD is FOR us … just think about his plan for redemption from the beginning of time… redemption for ALL people… yep.. ALL people!!! Just think about Easter… the Resurrection of Jesus Christ… the death of HIS ONLY SON.. sacrificed for us.. the final sacrifice so we may speak with our High Priest ANY time, have eternal salvation, know HIS peace, KNOW HIS Word, KNOW the HOLY Spirit and I could go on and on.
Take a moment RIGHT NOW to thank and praise God for HIS love for you and all the ways HE has blessed YOU… spring flowers…. Blue skies…. OH YOU KNOW.. I could just go on and on… but I’ll stop and let you think of your own blessings and love from HIM.
Snuggle up with the Lord right now, sing to Him your own song of praise and thanksgiving and REST in HIM. 🙂
Sharing HIS love,