The story of Korah and his followers gives us a clear picture of what not to do with the gifts, abilities, and anointing of God. Korah could have been a leader God used, if he had simply stayed within God’s boundaries. How do we do this?
#1 Measure Yourself Humbly and Do Not Magnify Yourself.
8 Then Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi, 9 is it not enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of 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, Korah, and all your brothers, sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking for the priesthood also? (Numbers 16:8-10)
Magnifying oneself is exaggerating one’s importance and contribution. It is a sign of the beginning and the cause of one’s fall.
Korah’s grandfather occupied an important place in the ministry of the Lord. Kohath’s family was one of three families appointed to serve in the sanctuary.
This family had the highest honor because the holiest items in the tabernacle were assigned to their care. This included the Tent of Meeting or tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, the table of shew-bread, the candlestick, the altar of incense, and altar of burnt-offering. God had promised that they would never to be cut off from the Levites. Wow!
BUT THE SONS OF KORAH WANTED MORE…
This family was more privileged than most, yet it wasn’t enough. They began to entertain thoughts of greater service and positions. The tasks and anointing God placed on others was coveted by Korah and his followers.
The father of Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, reminded him several times of a humbling truth. “Whenever you get too high on yourself, go down to the beach and look out over the vast ocean. Then, pick up a handful of sand and realize that one grain is all you are in the space of time.” (USA Today 1/21/97)
Someone noted, “The less privileged looked up at the sons of Korah, gushed in their presence, and pined for an opportunity to safeguard the most holy things, to keep Moses and Aaron company, and to serve God up-close and personal.”
#2 Motivate People Honestly and Do Not Mislead Others. (Numbers 16:12-15)
Many people motivate others in the wrong way. They only look after their own interests and take advantage of people’s trust, fear, and ignorance.
The mutineers were essentially calling Moses a tyrant, a liar, and a sadist. Dathan and Abiram reopened old wounds by echoing the ten spies’ claims that Egypt represented everything good – milk and honey (13). They twisted the promises of God by saying Moses personified death and torture and the Promised Land epitomized wastelands and barrenness.
Moses, a good leader, offered a measured response and opportunity for those in rebellion to “opt-out” and correct the situation. Dathan and Abiram dug their own grave when they refused to control the damage, confess their wrongdoing, and correct people’s misperception.
Moses gave Dathan and Abiram more leeway than Korah, but the two didn’t show up or shut up! He was disappointed, exasperated, and angered by their unproven accusations (16:15). He had gone out of his way to meet them, mend fences and make up (16:4), but the two did not even have the respect to see, face, or confront him (16:12).
#3 Meet God Honorably and Do Not Mock Him! (Numbers 16:41-50)
THE ANOINTING IS NOT UP FOR DEBATE
Korah and company accused, defied, and humiliated Moses in public. They succeeded in shredding Moses’ reputation to pieces, pouring contempt on his leadership, and raising issues about the land. The problem here… Moses was God’s ordained leader. Moses was both appointed and anointed. When God appoints, gifts, and anoints someone, that person is not up for debate.
THE END RESULT OF THIS CANCER
At the end of the two day incident, close to 15,000 people died. The stern judgment could have been averted, but the people did not stop their complaining or accept their responsibility. They rolled up their sleeves and prepared for a confrontation. The Lord’s judgment was not as lenient, gracious, or merciful the second time round.
Moses could not prevent the breakout of the plague. His intervention could not stop the plague because the offenders were insolent and impenitent.
How could people be so wrong? How could people see such miraculous signs/miracles and then attack God’s servant?
The answer is rebellion! It may be in our hearts, just not revealed in our character until we are faced with it. Korah and his followers forfeited their call because of rebellion. God will not allow rebellion to remain. He must remove and replace it.
The good news, when confession of sin is made and intercession is offered, God restores His anointing and presence. Rebellion can be corrected. It simply has to be dealt with God’s way.
These sons of Korah did not fare very well in this generation. But they rebounded in later generations. They became renown for their worship and psalms.