anointed and appointed, complaining against Moses, ground swallowed, how to catch a monkey, korah, Numbers 16, rebellion, you are not the boss of me
Some of us want more than what God says is good for us. Why is it that we are never satisfied with what God has provided? I am speaking primarily of the Spirit. Why is it that we covet the things others have like possessions, position, or power (authority)?
We seem to be like the monkey.
There is a well told story that says in Africa and India the natives use a very simple technique to catch monkeys. They hollow out one end of a coconut and they put peanuts or bananas inside. The monkey puts his hand in the coconut and when he makes a fist to grab the peanuts, he’s trapped. The monkey cannot remove his hand with his fist clinched. Because he desperately desires the treats inside the coconut, he keeps his fist clinched. The natives will pull a string attached to the other end of the coconut and capture the monkey without harming it. All the little monkey has to do in order to escape is to let go of the fruit. But he never releases his grasp of the fruit and is caught.
Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took action, (Numbers 16:1)
This desert rebellion was led by a man named Korah. He was a Levite, meaning he was a privileged person among the Hebrews. He was specially chosen from among God’s Chosen People to serve in the Priesthood. Yet the story tells us he was still discontented with his position when he compared himself to Moses and Aaron.
Korah spread his discontent to 250 other Israelites. They brought forward a list of complaints, acting more like a mob. They were determined to have things their own way.
Have you ever known people like this?
It is as if they cannot be happy unless they are the ones running the show.
- They think they have just as much right to be the boss as the boss.
- They are self-appointed.
- They insist they have been disadvantaged somehow by not being given the opportunity to lead.
These mutineers have not demonstrated any ability to lead. Yet, due to the mob, they insist they know what is best. All this sounds like some politicians doesn’t it?
Korah’s Complaint (2-3)
“and they rose up before Moses, together with some of the sons of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, chosen in the assembly, men of renown. 3 They assembled together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” (Numbers 16:2-3)
Those wanting a change in leadership had three complaints. These complaints all focused around Moses.
- #1 Moses, you are no better than anyone else.
- #2 Everyone in Israel is chosen of the Lord, not just Moses and Aaron
- #3 We don’t need to obey you Moses (you’re no better than us).
If you are a parent, these complaints may sound familiar. Have you ever heard a child say, “you’re not the boss of me.”
Well, the fact of the matter is God has made (the parent) “the boss of you.” But trying to convince insolent children of this truth is a difficult task. It may take dramatic discipline to restore the leadership.
Webster’s Dictionary uses several synonyms to help to define rebellion.
- Insolent – arrogantly rude.
- Arrogate – to claim or seize without justification.
- Arrogant – proud and overbearing.
When Moses sees and hears of the rebellion, it looks as though he is shot in the stomach. He immediately falls to the ground. But the Lord gives Moses a simple plan to deal with these mutineers.
Everyone is invited to stand before the Lord as equals at the Tent of Meeting. Each is to have a censer filled with incense to burn before the Lord. Each will be received or rejected by the Lord. It never dawned on Korah that the Lord would reject him.
God instructs Moses to move everyone away from the trouble makers and their tents. Moses informs everyone plainly; This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea. (28)
29 If these men die the death of all men or if they suffer the fate of all men (a natural death), then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol (unnatural death), then you will understand that these men have spurned the LORD.”
31 As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 All Israel who were around them fled at their outcry, for they said, “The earth may swallow us up!” 35 Fire also came forth from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense. (Numbers 16:29-35)
End of discussion… end of the rebellion! The leadership question has been answered once and for all. When the ground opens up and swallows you, your family, and everything you own, then there is nothing left to discuss.
When we challenge the leaders God has put in place, we do so at our own peril. To challenge leadership with wrong motives may cost you more than you are will pay.
The truth is leadership is more than just leading. It is about anointing and how God has appointed that person.
Moses – As Good As It Gets
Korah’s group sought to walk outside their anointing, calling, and purpose. They were ministers of the Tabernacle. Their personal anointing didn’t extend beyond the priesthood. Yet they challenged the established authority using numbers and influence.
By the end of the next day 14,950 Israelites died. The plague that struck the camp was the scene of the longest and bloodiest day in the wilderness. This incident far outnumbered the 3,000 calf-worshippers that had died previously (Ex 32:28).
The truth is God had His best man on the job, Moses. We may think we know better than God. Nothing could be further from the truth. When God appoints, He anoints. Our job is to follow the anointing and learn to be comfortable with God’s anointed leadership. The Leadership was not going to get any better than Moses.
Have you learned to discern who is anointed and appointed by God? If you are still stuck in the flesh and looking for fleshly solutions to spiritual problems, you will be constantly disappointed. Learn to discern where God’s anointing is resting. It will change the way you operate and bring glory to the Lord.