Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Korah was the great grandson of Jacob's son, Levi, whom you will learn about tomorrow.  You may want to wait until tomorrow to read about Levi in order to have a better understanding of Korah.
Levi had Kohath.  Kohath had Izhar.  Izhar had Korah.  

Clear as mud?  Good.

After the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob were rescued from slavery in Egypt, they wandered in the desert while learning obedience to a Holy God, building a Tabernacle, whining, worshiping,  and whining again.

 It was a process.

These families had the same issues all families have.  Issues of insecurity in regards to favoritism, who's boss, who has a say, who doesn't have a say.  The families who wandered in the desert were....families.  Dysfunctional families.  Just like ours today.

(Did you think because they were in the BIBLE they were perfect or better than you or more.....holy?  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.)

On a particular day in the desert, a group of Israelites, kin to Levi and Reuben (Jacob's oldest son), felt the need to breach authority.  God had put Moses in charge.  God did.  Moses didn't put Moses in charge.  God put Moses in charge.

But Korah (Abraham's great great grandson) and his cousins thought that God must have had it wrong.  The cousins listened to the disgruntled words of Korah and jumped on his bandwagon of rebelling against the authority God himself had established through Moses.

When Moses got word of the anarchy beginning to erupt, he did something unusual and abnormal for us 21st century folks peeking into the past.  He didn't call a therapist for family counseling.  He didn't send Kohath to his tent.  He didn't post on Facebook any links to helping families get along or submission to authority.  He didn't yell at the whiners.

The Bible says, "When Moses heard this, he fell facedown."  Moses was so distraught over what was being said and the emotions that were driving them, the only thing he knew to do was to fall on his face before God.

When we're faced with hard things, emotional things, family things, we may learn a thing or two about what to do first, not thirty first.

Fall on your face before God.  He'll take care of it.  He'll work it out.  

He did for Moses.  Although it didn't work out so well for Korah or his family members.

When Moses next spoke, he told Korah (I'm paraphrasing), "All right, if you want to be in charge, let's see who God wants in charge."  I can almost hear Moses thinking to himself, If you want the job, you can have it! He said a lot of other very strong words to Korah, which you can read in the whole story in Numbers 16.

But in the end, God showed Korah, and the rest of the Israelites who he wanted in charge of this ragtag group of former slaves.

The next day Moses went to the boys from Reuben's line, Kathan and Abiram, who were joining Korah in his tantrum.  The elders of Israel followed Moses, and Moses warned the whole group of former slaves - "Move back from the tents of these wicked men!  Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins."  So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.  Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents."

So Moses tells everyone that only God will be the one to decide who is in charge.  

And God did.

As soon as Moses finished talking,
"the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions.  They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community."

So, it didn't work out very well for these people.  One person, Korah, got a bee in his bonnet, felt insecure, insecurity led to rebellion, rebellion led to a lot of people dying.  All because he didn't accept God's authority placed on Moses.

And really, who can blame him?

Moses was just a man.  Just like Korah.  There wasn't anything special about Moses except that he had been raised by Egyptian royalty, even though he was really an Israelite.  God could have picked one of the thousands of men who had been living as slaves to lead them out, but he choose Moses.  God could have rescued any number of babies from the Egyptian drowning and raised them up to be a leader.  But he didn't.  God choose Moses out of all the babies that could have been saved by the mass drowning of baby boys, God saved Moses.

And Korah didn't like God's choice.  Maybe Korah thought a murderer shouldn't be in charge.  Maybe Korah thought someone who was better well-spoken then Moses would have a better handle on communication.

Who knows?

Korah's attitude cost not only his life, but the lives of many, many others.  One person's disgruntled view poisoned many.  Innocent children were lost because of one man's pride.

The God who used the earth to swallow up rebellion is the same God who sent his Son to pay the price for the sin of rebellion.  Not the way we humans would handle things, I know.  But His ways, as strange as they seem to us, are His ways.  The God who commanded the earth to swallow up rebellion is a holy God.  Whether we acknowledge his holiness or not does not diminish or disprove his holiness.  He only tolerates rebellion for so long.    

So, what does this mean to me and you?  

Only you can answer that question.  But you may need to answer a few more before you can answer that one.  Ask yourself these questions:

Do I see God as holy, holding authority over all things?  Is my life a reflection of that belief?  How do I approach God when I am being tempted to rebel?  Do I speak to others, hoping for them to see things the way I see them?  Or do I seek God to show me where I am rebelling against his authority?
Do I fall down before God when faced with the dysfunctional behavior of those around me?  Or do I ignore it or try and make excuses for it?

God had to show he was holy to this band of former slaves, not because he had an ego to satisfy, but because He was in charge.  He was the rescuer, not the rescued.  The rescue wasn't just from the shackles of physical slavery.  He was rescuing them, and consequently us, from the shackles of spiritual slavery.  They were thick and stiff necked.  We are thick and stiff necked.  They quickly forgot the miracles he displayed when they were rescued from physical slavery.  We do the same.

Sometimes God has to use earth shattering events to wake us up from our slumber of unseen slavery.  Sometimes even literal earthquakes are the method he uses.  Sometimes he uses illness, or death of a loved one, or the loss of a job or home.  It's not his first choice, whatever way he uses.  A father's first choice would always be that a son or daughter would obey out of love, not out of fear or rebellion.  No parent likes to discipline a child running off track.  Sometimes a firm swat on the butt is what it takes to reign the disobedient in.  Sometimes it takes more than a swat on the backside.

His desire isn't to coddle us and hope we see him in all his fullness.  His desire is for us to see Him as he is.  A holy God who will comfort us and who longs for us to love him as he is and serve him out of love and a fear that bows in awe, not trembles in dread.  As much as I would like to see God as a pushover and willing to change the rules for me if I whine and complain, He has to remain true to himself and cannot put up with my being obstinate and rebellious to his authority forever.

His grace alone holds off his wrath, but we still can get a spanking from time to time, like any good father or mother does to prevent a child from further harm.

A good parent disciplines.  A good parent is not a friend to their child. until the child understands that discipline is what keeps the child from harm.  God knows the rebellious bent of our hearts.  We're the ones who have a hard time recognizing the hard things may be allowed because God is trying to reign in some rebellion that is busting out and trying to take us, and perhaps many others, down with us.

A good dad disciplines.  Discipline and love are a fine line for us human parents to balance - even though good discipline stems from love.  God does not do one without the other.  Ever.  

Korah and his relatives found that out the hard way.



Exodus 1 and 2
Numbers 16

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