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The Seeds of Promise Devotional Series

Moses & Aaron vs The Congregation

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February Book Read From Read Also Devotional
20th Numbers Chapter 16 Moses & Aaron vs The Congregation

Devotional Reading: Numbers 16:1-3 AMP

1 Now Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men, And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the Israelites, 250 princes or leaders of the congregation called to the assembly, men well known and of distinction. And they gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, [Enough of you!] You take too much upon yourselves, seeing that all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you lift yourselves up above the assembly of the Lord?

Jealousy roused the hearts and minds of certain princes and people of the Israelites. After they had spent days murmuring and complaining to God about everything from the cuisine (manna) to the lack of changing scenery – since they were stuck (by their own fault) in a wilderness rather than moving on to the land of milk and honey. God would have consumed them several times before today, had Moses not made intercession for them. This time, 250 princes of the congregation had a similar idea to that of Miriam – which left her in leprous condition because of God’s fierce anger as a result of evil speaking against Moses.

Sometimes, when people know you on a first-name level, they can become too relaxed in their communication with you. If you are in a position of leadership, subordinates can sometimes forget to maintain a proper level of professional distance and reverence. In today’s reading, some of the people and certain wicked princes decided to escalate their complaints and go directly to Moses and Aaron to say that they were as holy as the Priest (Aaron) and the Prophet (Moses). Rather than recognizing the covering of protection and favor that fell to them because of Moses’ pure leadership and Aaron’s obedience, they instead thought more highly of themselves than they should have, and considered themselves equal with Moses and Aaron before God. Like the angels in heaven who were cast out with Lucifer for seeing themselves as equal with God, the 250 princes and their households were jealous of God’s communion with Moses and Aaron and saw no reason why they should not have the same privilege.

Devotional Reading: Numbers 16:4-11 AMP

And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face. And he said to Korah and all his company, In the morning the Lord will show who are His and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to Him; him whom He has chosen will He cause to come near to Him. Do this: Take censers, Korah and all your company,  And put fire in them and put incense upon them before the Lord tomorrow; and the man whom the Lord chooses shall be holy. You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi. And Moses said to Korah, Hear, I pray you, you sons of Levi: Does it seem but a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, 10 And that He has brought you near to Him, and all your brethren the sons of Levi with you? Would you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against the Lord. And Aaron, what is he that you murmur against him?

Moses’ reaction to the accusation and murmuring of his accusers could have been indignation and shouting with a pointing finger. Notice Moses’ reaction. “He fell upon his face” – As if to say, the LORD judge between you and me. Moses did not rail on the people. He spoke only wisdom – that since the accusers decided to escalate their complaints, their matter would be decided in a higher court – their complaint would be handled by the Almighty God who is knowledgeable of the situation and works of both parties, and who is able to judge righteously, having the full story regardless of what is told from this or that perspective.

Devotional Reading: Numbers 16:12-17 AMP

12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and they said, We will not come up. 13 Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness, but you must also make yourself a prince over us? 14 Moreover, you have not brought us into a land that flows with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you bore out the eyes of these men? We will not come up! 15 And Moses was very angry and said to the Lord, Do not respect their offering! I have not taken one donkey from them, nor have I hurt one of them. 16 And Moses said to Korah, You and all your company be before the Lord tomorrow, you and they and Aaron. 17 And let every man take his censer and put incense upon it and bring before the Lord every man his censer, 250 censers; you also and Aaron, each his censer.

Now was the moment of truth. No doubt the princes thought that because of their greatness in number, they could say whatever they wanted to Moses and Aaron, and they could not be reckoned with. But what they did not know is that if God is for you, He is more than the world against you. Moses and Aaron stood firmly on the side of the LORD – and he let none of their words fall to the ground. When Moses prayed that the offering of the evil congregation would not be accepted, that was it. They would not be able to find atonement for their uprising unless God intervened – which would likely mean that the same people they were rebelling against would have to pray for them else they would be consumed. They did not realized that as Moses and Aaron were God’s chosen vessels – and especially that for Moses God placed no other man before Him in charge of all the people, rebellion against Moses was as rebellion against God Himself.

Devotional Reading: Numbers 16:18-26 AMP

18 So they took every man his censer, and they put fire in them and laid incense upon it, and they stood at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 Then Korah assembled all the congregation against Moses and Aaron before the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation. 20 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. 22 And they fell upon 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? 23 And the Lord said to Moses, 24 Say to the congregation, Get away from around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. 25 Then Moses rose up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he said to the congregation, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.

Once again, God gave the Israelites the opportunity to say definitively, whose side they were on – whether they would stand with the LORD or not. For those who fled the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, they were indeed spared of the judgment against those people and all that they had.

Devotional Reading: Numbers 16:27-45 AMP

27 So they got away from around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood in the door of their tents with their wives, and their sons, and their little ones. 28 And Moses said, By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I do not act of my own accord: 29 If these men die the common death of all men or if [only] what happens to everyone happens to them, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord causes a new thing [to happen], and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up, with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol (the place of the dead), then you shall understand that these men have provoked (spurned, despised) the Lord! 31 As soon as he stopped speaking, the ground under the offenders split apart 32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households and [Korah and] all [his] men and all their possessions. 33 They and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol (the place of the dead); and the earth closed upon them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 And all Israel who were round about them fled at their cry, for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. 35 And fire came forth from the Lord and devoured the 250 men who offered the incense. 36 And the Lord said to Moses, 37 Speak to Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning and scatter the fire at a distance. For the censers are hallowed— 38 The censers of these men who have sinned against themselves and at the cost of their own lives. Let the censers be made into hammered plates for a covering of the altar [of burnt offering], for they were used in offering before the Lord and therefore they are sacred. They shall be a sign [of warning] to the Israelites. 39 Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers with which the Levites who were burned had offered incense, and they were hammered into broad sheets for a covering of the [brazen] altar [of burnt offering], 40 To be a memorial [a warning forever] to the Israelites, so that no outsider, that is, no one not of the descendants of Aaron, should come near to offer incense before the Lord, lest he become as Korah and as his company, as the Lord said to Eleazar through Moses. 41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, You have killed the people of the Lord. 42 When the congregation was gathered against Moses and Aaron, they looked at the Tent of Meeting, and behold, the cloud covered it and they saw the Lord’s glory. 43 And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the Tent of Meeting. 44 And the Lord said to Moses, 45 Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. And Moses and Aaron fell on their faces.

Moses and Aaron both fell on their faces to plead for the people that they would not all be consumed. God had made an example of the princes, that others would be warned not to ever come near to offer incense before the LORD without being called to do so out of the house of the Levites who were reserved for such offering. The tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed up in the earth; and the people who survived them, who were not in thier tents but sided with their actions, received a plague from the wrath of God.

Devotional Reading: Numbers 16:46-50 AMP

46 And Moses said to Aaron, Take a censer and put fire in it from off the altar and lay incense on it, and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them. For there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague has begun! 47 So Aaron took the burning censer as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and behold, the plague was begun among the people; and he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stayed. 49 Now those who died in the plague were 14,700, besides those who died in the matter of Korah. 50 And Aaron returned to Moses to the door of the Tent of Meeting, since the plague was stayed.

God’s wrath in a plague was spreading among the people. The number of the dead was rising quickly. Moses told Aaron to hurry and offer an atoning incense for the people; and Aaron stood between the living and the dead, and the plague did not pass by him to enter into the lives of the people left alive on the other side of him. God had respect to the offering of Aaron at the command of Moses. Moses stood in the gap between the living and the dead, to save much people alive. Some of them had spoken against Aaron; and there he was, helping to save their lives.

God commands His people to bless even those who curse them. Believers use the phrase “standing in the gap” in reference to intercessory prayer. Aaron and Moses stood in the gap between God’s wrath and the very lives of the Children of Israel. Were it not for their consecration to God and standing guiltless in that gap, the plague would have continued, having already taken 14,700 lives from among the people. God promises destruction to those who hate him and the plague of His wrath is passed on to generations while that hatred is cultivated. To those who love Him, He hands blessing to a thousand generations from each generation that loves him. If you are reading this, someone stood in the gap for you. Stand in the gap for others and pray for them.


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