I am reading through the book of Numbers during my time with the Lord. I read a passage in Numbers 16 the other day that I do not remember ever reading or hearing about. I grew up going to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, youth group on Wednesday, and AWANA. I went to Bible College at Cedarville University and have been a part of numerous Bible studies. Somehow, I have missed this story. The humility and love for the people of Israel challenges and convicts me.
The story I am referring to follows a familiar story that many of us know: the rebellion of Korah. Korah was a son of Levi along with 250 chiefs of the congregation rose up before Moses questioning his authority. Throughout the entire story of Korah’s rebellion Moses’ humility continues to shine through. “When Moses heard it, he fell on his face.” (Numbers 16:4). Later God spoke to Moses and told Moses to separate the congregation of Israel from Korah and all his followers and their families and again we see the humility of Moses, “And they (Moses and Aaron) fell on their faces and said, ‘O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?” (Numbers 16:22)
The rest of this story ends with God opening the earth and Korah, his followers, and their families are swallowed up by the earth because of their pride. What I do not remember ever reading was what happened after Korah and his family and followers were swallowed by the earth. As you read these verses focus on the humility of Moses and Aaron. We have seen it in the story of Korah, but Moses’ and Aaron’s humility continues to be what shines forth from them.
But on the next day all the congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You killed the people of the Lord.” And when the congregation had assembled against Moses and against Aaron, they turned toward the tent of meeting, and behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying “Get away from the midst of this congregation, thay I may consume them in a moment.” And they (Moses and Aaron) fell on their faces. And Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, and put fire on it from off the altar and lay incense on it and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the Lord; the plague has begun.” So Aaron took it as Moses said and ran into the midst of the assembly. And behold, the plague had already begun among the people. And he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. Now those who died in the plague were 14,700, besides those who died in the affair of Korah. And Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting, when the plague was stopped. (Numbers 16:41-50).
God is ready to consume the Israelites with a plague because of their pride, and Moses and Aaron intercede for the people of Israel and stave off their complete destruction and annihilation. God was showing forth His justice, and Moses and Aaron were seeking God’s mercy, which He granted.
Consider how this applies to our own lives. Do we sit back and watch or do we intercede on behalf of others. Moses and Aaron did not just intercede, they went “quickly” and “ran” to intercede on behalf of the people of Israel.
I ask myself, “Am I quick to intercede, or do I think it is their just punishment?” God saw the sin of pride rampant in the camp of the Israelites, and the honor of humility in the hearts and actions of Aaron and Moses. It’s easy to see in this story.
Can we see pride or humility in our own story? The closer we walk with God on a daily basis the greater our humility becomes.