So why am I thinking about rebellion? Those pesky stiff-necked Israelites did it again…Not long before Miriam and Aaron were speaking out against their brother, Moses. The Israelites have already accused Moses for bringing them to the desert to die or not feeding them the right food or there is no water…Now in Numbers 16, we have Korah, Abiram, and Dathan. They were supposed to be leaders of the Israelites as they served God in the tent of meeting. So in today’s time they were like deacons or elders in the church. However they were claiming that everyone of the Israelites were holy and so why were Moses and Aaron “setting themselves” above the others. Their theory sounded good to about 250 other Israelite leaders. So 253 men are standing against the leaders God had chosen in Moses and Aaron. So what does God do about this rebellion? How serious is rebellion to God? Well, He had the earth swallow Korah, Dathan, Abiram their families and all their possessions. “They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them and they perished…” Num 16:33 Then the 250 men were consumed by fire. It gets better though…This act of God didn’t seem to scare the Israelites at all. In fact the next day they accuse Moses and Aaron of killing the Lord’s people. As if Moses and Aaron could have sent fire from heaven or cause the earth to swallow up three families…Regardless, the Israelites rebelled against Moses and Aaron and God was sick of it. He told Moses and Aaron to get away from those assembled against them so he could do away with them, but what did Moses have Aaron do? He had Aaron intercede for the Israelites by burning incense to make atonement for the people. Num 16:48 says “He [Aaron] stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.” However 14,700 people died because of their rebellion.
I’d say God doesn’t like rebellion. I think he takes rebellion pretty seriously. If He is willing to use the earth to swallow three families, send fire to destroy 250 men, and send a plague that killed 14,700 people and would have killed more if Aaron wasn’t willing to make atonement for the people, the God is clearly strongly against rebellion. Oh, my rebellious heart angers God. My rebellious heart hurts more than just me. I can often lead others astray. Look at Dathan, Korah, and Abiram. Through their rebellion 14,950 people plus their own families were destroyed. Rebellion is alive and well in me and it angers God. Oh that I can honor those in authority over me and kick that rebellion out of my heart.
Not only did I realize my own rebellion, but I also realized how I as an authority figure need to stand in the gap when those under my authority rebel. What I tend to think is they deserve what they get. They need to learn their lesson. Moses was just telling God how he couldn’t carry them all the way to the promised land. If I were Moses I am not sure I would have sent Aaron to make atonement. I would think that is what they get for rebelling against us. Instead Moses over and over again intercedes for them. He stands in the gap instead of getting angry and yelling back, he prays for them, makes atonement for them. Oh that I could follow Moses’ example. That I could stand in the gap for those who are fighting against my authority. What a picture of Christ. Standing in the gap for our sins as we spit at Him and curse Him.
Father God I pray that Your Spirit will fill me so that I do not rebel against You and the authority in my life. Lord I also pray that when my authority is being questioned that I can stand in the gap for those who are rebelling against the authority You have given me. Oh to be a picture of Christ for those I am in authority over and help them turn to You. Forgive me my rebellion and my unwillingness to stand in the gap. Thank You for the provision You sent to save us humans from the plague of sin. Thank You for Your Son Jesus! Amen.