Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16)
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Go and grab your Bibles and turn to page 120. On. We’re in number 16. This week. If you are using the Pew Bible in front of you, it is page 120. It seems very appropriate that on this pastor Christian Sunday that we focused on a passage about what happens when you reject the authority of leaders. And no lie that is the passage we are in. You can call it coincidence, I call it providential. But in all seriousness, I do want to say thank you, on behalf of Brandon myself for your gift, we did not know that Amy was going to be sharing on behalf of our wives. So we are so grateful and thank thankful for that. We’re thankful for you. As she said, the church body here has been a gift to us and our ministry and our family, and nowhere else that we would rather serve going on now into our seven years here together. Alright, so hopefully you’re in numbers 16, we will get there soon. I will say at the outset that this is going to be a long service. One because I didn’t know everything was happening before this. So I’m getting up here late second, we’re covering the entire chapter of number 16, which is 50 verses and we are going to read it all. And so therefore there is a lot to cover. So I will just like Brandon says like, he doesn’t think he’s going to be that long, I’m just telling you, it’s going to go long, which is not typical, I think for me. It is for him, okay. So if you are the type that watches sports, probably football today, tomorrow morning, if you watch sports shows, or listen to radio shows, you’re probably gonna have somebody calling in or talking about everything their team did wrong. Yesterday, right? Or today, they’re gonna say, if I was in that situation, I would do this, I would run that play, I would put this person in, it’s called being a Monday morning quarterback. Maybe sports is your thing. So within the business world, you have a new CEO, new boss that comes in and has all these different things, policies they want to put into place, and they are scrutinized by everyone. Because of course, we know what the problem is. We know what we should do X, Y, or Z, or let’s say a worldwide pandemic hits. And out of the 4.2 6 billion social media, people that there are users, there are 4.2 6 billion opinions, ideas, and thoughts about that. Calling out leaders, government leaders, school leaders, church leaders, hospitals, scientists, whatever it might be, why because I know what we should do. In this situation. The point is simply that we are often tempted to think we would do a better job than someone else. That is the heart of complaining and grumbling, is it not?
The reason we do this, because I think I know better, I could do better than that person. And we are going to see rebellion this morning against Moses, and Aaron. In most of those situations, not all the most of those situations, we have a choice to either submit, or rebel. Those are our choices, we could submit or we can rebel. And we’re going to see rebellion against the leaders that God chose in numbers 16. But I hope that you walk away this morning with an understanding that rejecting and rebelling against faithful and biblical leadership is really a rejection of God’s authority. And so we’re going to see this clearly in the text. There’s a simple warning in the text today, it’s the main point it’s on your notes, be careful whom you stand behind. Okay, be careful whom you stand behind. So we’re looking at the whole chapter. There are three days in this chapter. So that’s how we’re going to break it down, we’re going to look at each day verses one through 17. For day one, I’m not going to catch us up we’re coming mid numbers, the book of Numbers. And so I’m not going to give us a whole summary of it. I’m going to kind of call back to some different things that happened earlier in the book that I hope will kind of tie some things together. But we just don’t have time to go through the whole background. So let’s look at day one. One through 17 of chapter 16. core OS is hard the sons of Kohath, the son of Levi in certain Reubenites daith And in a Bairam sons of Eli, OB and own son of PLF became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them are 250 Israelite men, well known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron instead of them, you have gone too far. The whole community is holy, every one of them and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly? When Moses heard this he fell facedown. Then he said to Cora and his followers, in the morning the Lord will show who belongs to Him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses, he will cause to come near him. You Cora and all your followers are to do this. Take sensors and tomorrow put burning coals and incense in them before the Lord. The man the Lord chooses will be the one who is holy, you Levites have gone too far. Moses also said Cora, now listen, you Levites isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community, and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood to it. It’s against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together? Who is Aaron, that you should grumble against him? Then Moses summoned Nathan into Byron, the sons of Elijah. But they said, We will not come? Is it enough that you have brought us out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? And now you also want to lord it over us? Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a landfill with milk and honey, you’re given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards? Do you want to treat these men like slaves? No, we will not come. The Moses became angry and said to the Lord do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them. Moses said to Cora, you and all your followers are appear before the Lord tomorrow, you and they and Aaron, each man has to take a sensor and put incense and it’s 250 sensors in all, and present it before the Lord, you and Aaron are to present your sensors, also. So that’s day one. There is conflict, this group of people come to Moses and Aaron, this group includes Cora 250, community leaders, Nathan in a Bairam, who are leading this rebellion with Cora, they approach Moses and Aaron in opposition. Now they came as an organized group, which means they had the meeting before the meeting. You guys know what that is? The meeting before the meeting that Moses and Aaron weren’t invited to? Why? Because they were going to talk about them. So they got together, they organized somehow, around this idea that we want to oppose them. And so here they come. And here’s their charge. Basically, it’s we are God’s people. We are holy ones. Who are you? To lead us? It’s like the kids saying, Who made you the boss of me? All right, who made you the boss, in one way they are right? God actually came to Moses and told him in Exodus 19, verse six, you will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you’re to speak to the Israelites. So God told Moses to say this to them, that they are holy, they are set apart. But they are also ignoring the fact that back in numbers eight, God had the Levites, including the Kohathites, of which core is a part consecrated for service the Lord. So even in this, we’re all holy, God had a special plan and purpose for them. God had chosen the people made them holy, call them to live a holy life that was different than nations, if something would be different about them, people would know that. But God also knew they would do best if they followed his leadership structure,
what and who he put into place for them. So this is the charge against Moses and Aaron. And there are two complaints that are brought to them. The first one from Cora, the second from Dayton, and a Byron. So the first complaint, which we see first in the texts, is a rebellion against the priesthood. Okay, it’s a rebellion against a preset. So Cora and his band of 250 come, and their rebellion is against Aaron and his sons, and the role they have as priests. Like, if everyone is holy, we can all approach God. And if we can all approach God, what makes Aaron and his sons so special? Now, it’s after this, that Moses, for the first time in our story, falls facedown, before the Lord, facedown in prayer before them when he hears this, now he’s doing this to pray, to hear from the Lord. But in our series, people got killed, there may be a little bit of him that’s like, I don’t know what’s going to happen to these guys, in this moment, for calling out Aaron and his ministry. And then they say to Moses and Aaron, you have gone too far. They’re claiming that Moses somehow has made himself the leader chosen this leadership position. But you should be familiar with Moses call in the ministry, when God called Moses. Moses said, I don’t want the job. I don’t want it. I’m not good at public speaking. I can’t do this. I’m not able to lead. Moses Gnosis and so if there is ever a mic drop moment in the Old Testament, it is Moses here, because he turns these words when he’s talking to Cora and the Levites. And he says, You Levites have gone too far. Like he knows his ministry, he knows God. He knows they have gone too far. Now, how have they done that? Moses actually exposes the motives that Cora has because they are not pure motives. Core is not coming to share the priesthood with anyone, nor is he coming to get rid of the priesthood. He is coming to take the priesthood. That’s really what he wants. Because what Moses says in verse 10, is now you are trying to get the priesthood to, like you’re not content with what you have. Moses tells them you have all these great things that God has called you to do. So what is that? Earlier in numbers, this is the word God gave qualified to do, and you’ll see it on the screen. The COVID knights were responsible for the care of the sanctuary, pretty big deal. They were responsible for the care of the ark. That’s the Ark of the Covenant, by the way, the table the lamps, and the author’s the articles of sanctuary use administering the curtain and everything related to their use. The chief leader, the Levites, was LEA is our son of Aaron, the priest, he was appointed over those who are responsible for the care of the sanctuary. So Moses, like don’t, you know, you have this amazing role in the spiritual life of Israel. And yet, that’s not enough. They wanted more. They wanted a lasers job. Because that way, Azar told them what to do. Now they wanted to be able to tell a laser what to do. We have a word for that. It’s called discontentment. They are discontent with the position that Moses and Aaron have them in. And they want more than twice in this passage, Moses also comes to court and tells him what they’re going to do, how this challenge is going to be tested. He says, The next day they will test to find out who the man of God really is. So core and his tuner and 50 men will put coals in their sensors, these long handle pans, they’ll get them from the altar of the burn incense of the Lord, which was a priestly duty, and they will bring them to the Lord and the Lord will show who his man is. Because if they perform a priestly duty, that is only supposed to be done by certain people, then we should expect to see God not accepted their offering. So that’s Cora and his followers. That’s complaint number one. Now, Nathan, and Byram, which we see first in verse 12, Dayton and Aviram are Reubenites. RUBIN is the oldest of Jacob’s children. They were dissatisfied with Moses’s leadership, going so far as to say, he has taken up the leadership mantle on his own, and He has deceived the people not fulfilling His promises. And so what they do in these few verses years, they attack his purpose, and they attack him as a man as a leader. So first, the purpose he has not fulfilled his promise, the promise of entering the promised land, a land flowing with milk, and honey, meaning it was a rich land, it was a good land.
And not only to the question, the fact that he has not fulfilled his promise and brought them into that. What do they say? You took us out of Egypt, the land flowing with milk and honey. Pause there. Does anybody know the history of Israel? We have to step back. That was the land of milk and honey. Oh, the place that we were enslaved for over 400 years, that God miraculously delivered? That was the land flowing with milk and honey. That was the promised land, not where you have us now. And then, and then he says, You are deceiving the people. You’re deceiving the people. So first, they’re dissatisfied with Moses leadership and not fulfilling His promises. Now they say you are deceptive. Verse 14 says, Do you want to treat these men like slaves? And in your Bible, you might have a footnote at the bottom that reads another way it can be translated is will you gouge out the eyes of these men? So What’s it saying? Moses saying you’re you’re treating the people like slaves who have been blinded, which is a common practice back then. So they’re saying you’re deceiving them? You are keeping them in the dark of what your real intentions are. They’re questioning Moses’s intentions for leading them. So at the heart of this, these men just believe they could do better. They’re the Monday morning quarterback. We could do better than Moses and Aaron. Now, this isn’t the first time Moses leadership has been questioned in chapter 12, his own siblings, Aaron, who has also been challenged now and Miriam, his sister both challenged Moses’s leadership. There’s some jealousy in their hearts kind of saying like, well, well, Moses doesn’t really have a we have. He’s nervous to talk in public. He’s got a little bit of a temper like he killed the guy. How is he qualified for leadership are better able to lead than us? Here’s what we find out about Moses in chapter 12 verse three, it says, Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. And verse seven, says My servant Moses, this is God speaking my servant Moses, He is faithful in all my house with him I speak face to face. Sounds like the kind of leader I could get behind humble and faithful. Moses has not deceived them. Rather they are deceiving themselves. They’re not taking ownership for the fact that they’re not in the promised land because of their own disobedience and sin before the Lord. Because back just two chapters in numbers 14, they said we’re not entering the land when Joshua and Caleb and the other spies went into land. So this land is great. But the people are big. They’ve got big fortresses like we’re kind of scared about this. So 10 of them say don’t go in Josh McCaleb say we should go into what other people do, they side with the majority and say we’re not going in. So why were they denied the promised land? Because they disobeyed God. The finger should be pointed at themselves, not Moses is leadership. So in this we have discontentment from the Levites. We want more. We have distrust and dissatisfaction, dissatisfaction with the Reubenites we could lead better so discontentment and distrust in our lives will harden our hearts. To the leadership that God has established in our lives, it will harden our hearts to God’s very word. Now, this moment here, this storyline is one that screenwriters love, like a group of rebels, pushing against the establishment, right, and against the rules and against the old men who have been in power for way too long. That’s an attractive storyline. These are the moves to get people in the seats. Why? Because the uprising against authority structures is attractive in our culture. It’s it’s foreign, in other cultures, by the way. But in our culture, we love it because it’s the individualistic nature, of it, of who we are. We set the rules. We determine what we do what we don’t do. Like Moses and Aaron have really messed up before they have sinned before these people. They are fallible men. So maybe this is a good idea to fight back against Moses, and Aaron, all of us know church leaders who have messed up and have fallen from leadership, we’ve taken their churches away from the gospel, who would think this book is just one among many, and not the word of God? We all know that and leaders have done that and taken them there. So maybe Cora definite environment have a point. Maybe there’s like this collective cheer from these men. When they come against Moses, and Aaron, maybe in our culture that’d be collected cheer like this is what happens. We fight against the establishment, we fight against the man. So what makes this different?
Because the rebellion is not against Moses and Aaron. Look at verse 11. Moses tells Cora, it is against the Lord, that you and all your followers have banded together. Moses could care less about his own leadership about Aaron’s, he cares about the fact that they’re rebelling against God. So Cornas, men are actually saying to God, God, we are discontent with the role you have given us. They’re questioning God’s purpose, and his plan, data and I remember saying to God, God, we don’t trust that you are let looking after our good. We don’t trust that you will fulfill your promises to us. They’re questioning God’s goodness, and his faithfulness. Now, there’s 250 other community leaders men standing with Cora, Dayton, and a Byram. how quickly those 250 have forgotten how much power God has displayed through the ministry of Moses, and through the ministry of Aaron. And yet they choose to stand behind Cora daif. In an environment they oppose Moses and Aaron as they oppose God. They’re choosing someone who has no track record of God using them at all. And they’re standing against the ones who have clearly been used by the Lord. So the question is, what about you? Where is the discontentment in your life? The distrust the DIS says for this? I can’t say that being dissatisfied. causing you to rebel against the Lord and His word. What is it in your heart? Are you standing behind someone or something, seeking to be content and satisfied? Are you trusting in someone or something else to provide what only God can? Because when that happens, our hearts get harder. So let’s press on. I’m not sure what happened that night. What kind of conversations were had? I’m wondering, do anybody stand up and say, Is this a good idea? Just a good idea to go up against the Lord in this moment, but nothing changes and they do. So let’s look at day two, verses 18 through 40. There’s not a nice transition here but Moses who said we’ll do this the next day. So verse 18, we have them preparing. So each of them took his sensor for burning coals and incense and it stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. When Cora had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance of the tent of meeting the glory of the Lord appeared to the entire assembly. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, separate yourselves from this assembly, so I can put an end to them at once. But Moses and Aaron fell face down and cried out, oh God, the God who gives breaths all living things will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man since then the Lord said to Moses, Say to the assembly, move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan in a Bairam no just got up and went to death in an environment the elders of Israel followed him. He warned the assembly move back from the tents to these wicked men do not touch anything belonging to them or you will be swept away because of all their sins. So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan in a Byram, Dayton and Aviram had come out were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents. The Moses said, This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things in that it was not my idea. If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, and the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt. As soon as he finished saying all this the ground or them split apart, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, and their households and all those associated with cholera, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead with everything they owned the earth close over them, they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites shouted or Israelites around them fled shouting, the earth is going to swallow us too. And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who are offering the incense. The Lord said to Moses, tell LEA is our son of Aaron the priest to remove the sensors from the charred remains and scatter the coal some distance away for the sensors are wholly the sensors of the man who sinned at the cost of their lives, hammer the sensors into sheets to overlay the altar for they were presented before the Lord had become holy. Let them be assigned to the Israelites. So LEA is or the priests collected the bronze sensors, brought by those who had been burned to death. And he had them hammered out to overlay the altar, as the Lord directed him through Moses. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except the descendants of Aaron should come to burn incense before the Lord or he would become like Cora, and his followers. Day to the stage is set, all the major characters are in place at the entrance, the tent of meeting the tabernacle, sensors in hand ready to go off and incense before the Lord.
And God who has been there the whole time, shows up his glory appears in a way that everyone knows that he’s there. It’s the glory of the Lord that that weighty presence will we see later in the in the next day is the cloud that comes is the glory of the Lord. So everybody knows that God is among them right now. What’s going to happen? And God speaks to who? to Moses and Aaron. He does not recognize anyone else. Anyone else offering the incense? No, he speaks to Moses and Aaron. And he says, instead, I’m going to put an end to this whole assembly. Everyone among them what Moses and Aaron do, fall facedown. The second time now for Moses to fall facedown, to intercede for the people using an argument similar to what we saw a couple weeks ago with Abraham before Sodom, when God tells Abraham, I’m gonna destroy Sodom for their sin, Abraham’s able to work God all the way down from this higher number all the way down to 10. If there’s 10, righteous people, God says, I will not destroy this city. And very similar here, they say, Will you really judge everyone for the sins of one man? That’s their prayer. And God response in His Grace, God gives everyone everyone a chance to move away from the instigators of this rebellion. And he says, separate yourselves from their tents. Move away. Korah, Dathan and Aviram come out and stand at the tents with their families before the assembly, and people start to move away from them. The glory of the Lord is clearly with Moses and Aaron and now the sins of these men are going to bring judgment on them, their families, and anyone else who chooses to stand with them, but they’ve been given their chance to walk away, to stand behind Moses and Aaron to stand behind God instead. And then Moses lays out what’s about to happen. The people will Know that the Lord has bring the judgment if this happens, so if they die, and and it’s a natural death, then then clearly date data into Byron’s kind of opposition to Moses is saying you’re a false leader, you’re not a good leader than that’s true, then God isn’t with Moses. But if the Lord does something new, something that Moses couldn’t do something that the people wouldn’t expect, then the Lord is bringing the judgment on them. And then their questions and their denial, and their doubts is going to be shown to be false. And so all of this happens, and what can we expect other than God does what Moses said he was going to do, the earth opens and swallows up the people. And when it says that they went down into the dead into the grave, like, this is not saying they went to hell, okay, that’s that’s sometimes maybe how you can read it. No, they went down alive into the realm of the dead, which is simply just the grave. That’s where they went, they were no more, this is not ultimate judgment for their souls. This is in response to what was happening in this moment. So they’re taken away from the community, it says, because of the rejection of God, the rejection of his authority. And I have to say something about the families that were consumed in this. Women, children, little ones, Brandon talked about this more extensively last week, because this happened in our passage with Aiken and his family. And so if you want a more a fuller, or more detailed understanding of this, you can go back there talk about the interconnectedness of family, this covenant community. But for the sake of time, I just want to mention a couple of things that we just need to make sure we have in the back of our minds when it comes to passages like this. First, God’s holy wrath is justly directed towards sinners. Regardless of gender, age, position, finances, background. Everyone is guilty. There is no one righteous no, not one. There is no one who is innocent. This judgment was not the final judgment. It doesn’t tell us what happens all these people eternally, though, and I know some of you have that question. Throughout this series, can we expect to see so and so in heaven? And we can’t stand up here and say yes or no, because we don’t know. What we know is God is acting in this moment in judgment, because he’s just and he can, and he’s right in doing it.
So we echo with Abraham, what he asked in Genesis 18, will not the judge the Lord of all the earth, do what is right. And that’s where we stand. That’s first. The second thing is God’s holy mercy is graciously given to all who would respond. Everyone had the opportunity to walk away from these men, including Cora Dayton and Byron themselves. Like what would have happened if they dropped to their knees, they fell facedown and repented before the Lord for what they did. I don’t know. But I do know God responds with grace. When people repent. They had their chance. They should have sent their families away. Get away. They knew what the Lord could do. And they kept them with them. Somebody else had gone and taken the families from them. If we took God seriously. We know that this happened with chorus family, that at some point Cora’s sons walk away from him. They submit to God rather submitting to their father, which by the way is okay if the father is doing something that is against the Lord is rebelling against the Lord, then you submit to God first. So at some point, Korres family does this, his sons do this because they are mentioned later in numbers in another census. And they also actually have a very prominent place in the history of Israel as temple singers. David and Byram their family is gone. They do not have a legacy anywhere. So no, real quick just for families, for parents, that parenting matters. Christian parenting matters. We have no we cannot tell our kids, we cannot make them Christians. We pray for that. We want them to come to know the Lord is our salvation, that he’s their salvation. We want them to know that we pray to that end, but we can’t make it happen. But what we can do is we can raise them in a house that softens their hearts the Lord or hardens their heart to the Lord. We do have some control over that. So how are we raising them? are we raising them in a home that is discontent and home that we’re not satisfied with who God is and what He has given us? We raised them in a home that distrust God and his leadership and his word. And we should not be surprised in their heart hearts are hard. Do not let your children get swept away in the consequences of your sin. When you keep moving, so right after the leaders of the rebellion or judge 250 are judged as well with fire, very similar what happened in need to have in a by who that we looked at a number of weeks ago, as they offered an unauthorized fire before the Lord? Did they ever think of getting from behind Cora. And walking away, it appears that they are in this the whole way, because the fire comes on them, they are destroyed. And now the things that they were using are holy, they have been purified through God’s judgment. And they are to be used for a different purpose. And so Lea czar, the one that they wanted to remove from the priesthood in order to take over his priesthood is now given the task to go get the censors to make sure that he now hammers them into this covering for the altar. And what is he supposed to do with them? He’s supposed to take them cover the altar, and it would be a warning to the people. There’s only certain ones who can approach me in this role. It is a warning that you will end up like Cora and his followers, if you think differently if you act differently. Now, the majority of the people stood apart from Cora daith. And in a Byram. They were spared judgment that day. So after seeing God’s power of just the earth, open up and swallow these people, you would think that would soften some hearts, right? Like if I see the Earth, swallow people up who are questioning the leadership of Moses, and I see 250 burned in a moment for questioning the priesthood of Aaron, I would like to believe that I would think the Lord was doing something right, that maybe I should take him seriously. That my posture before him would change. But it doesn’t for these people. Look at day three.
We’re gonna start in verse 41, reach the end of the chapter. Sorry, verse 41. Read through the chapter. The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. You have killed the Lord’s people, they said. But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turn toward the tentative meeting, suddenly the cloud appeared it, a covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting and the Lord said to Moses, get away from this assembly so I could put an end to them at once, and they fell face down. Then Moses said, Aaron, take your sensor and put incense in it along with the burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. wrath has come out from the Lord, the plague has started. So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran to the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people. But Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died from the plague. In addition to those who died because of Korra. Then Aaron returned Moses at the entrance to the tentative meeting for the plague had stopped. Another place in long history of Israel, we could beat them down for their response in this moment, but we need to look at our own hearts. They accuse Moses and Aaron of killing the Lord’s people. Like were they not there? What’s the title of our series? People people killed? No people God killed in this moment. They’re thinking, you guys did this. Moses gave them exactly what was going to happen to show that it was the Lord’s work that it was his judgment, it came to pass in exactly that way. And then we have deja vu. If you remember day two, what happens the glory of the Lord appears it shows up after the people complain. Just like day two, when they bring their incense of Burma for the Lord, the Lord shows up. And the same thing happens. Again, he’s not coming to affirm what they’ve said. But instead he comes to stubborn and hard hearted people who will not learn so that he can put an end to them. And again, he’s perfectly just in this. He’s continually challenged, showing them that He is God and yet they still don’t get it. So we’ve seen if you don’t believe the judgment that came yesterday, this is a mercy. That was a mercy warning to you. That that’s what it was. It was a warning of mercy. And now that you don’t see it that your heart has not softened, you will suffer the same judgment. Okay, so put yourself in the shoes of Moses and Aaron. Would you blame them if they threw their hands up and said these people are frustrating? We’ve seen too much of this. They complain they’ve been grumbling this entire yearbook to this point, we’ve interceded for them. We’ve called on your name, Lord, You know what, we’re gonna step back now and you can do what you do. Can we blame them for that? It’s tempting. But what do they do? They fall on their face. A third time for Moses falls on his face again before the Lord, to pray, to intercede for stubborn, hard hearted people questioning his leadership, questioning Aaron’s leadership, questioning God’s leadership. And then Moses gets the idea, as this plague has now come as God’s judgment on the people, the Aaron, who has already proven to be the holy one, the one that God chose to be priest, he says, you need to do the same, you need to perform the same duty you just did with the, the tuner 50, you need to get that sensory and you get calls from the altar, you need to go in the midst of the people because the plague has started. So he’s supposed to do his priestly function. Here’s the thing, if those 250 and Cora went out there in the moment of the plague, and try to stop that plague, what would happen? Everybody would die. That’s what would happen. So we can proceed that Aaron is the one who was chosen for this task. He is the priest, God had a reason for this. Those other ones were false priests, thinking they could do it on their own. And Aaron presort, performs the same function. And he goes, and he stands in the gap, it says, between the living and the dead between the fallen and the living. And the people who are now on that side of him, the other side of them are hoping that the plague stops as he enters in. And it does stop because he is a mediator between the fallen and the living between those who have received God’s holy judgment, and those who are now receiving God’s holy mercy.
God’s holiness displayed in both groups. So the people as a whole were judged for their response to Moses and Aaron, what happened the day before, they’re all under God’s judgment. It’s not that Aaron saved all the holy people behind him who did not distress God, we’re not discontent. No, everybody was getting this until Aaron stepped in when he stepped in everybody behind him was saved. God’s holiness and Grace displayed in this moment between the dead and the living, almost 15,000 people died in this chapter. Started with Cora daith, and Byron, their families, their followers, these 250 behind them in 14,700 Other Israelites rebelling against God’s authority, and against the authorities he has put in place is costly. God will not allow rebellion against his authority to go on forever. So this is a warning to be careful who we stand behind. We’ve talked about God in this series working to get things to get hell out of Earth. In heaven, he gets rid of the rebellion, the rebellion against his authority, it needs to be moved out. And that’s what happens when these people are swallowed up. They’re out of the community, the rebellion needs to stop. God has vindicated Moses and Aaron showing the people that they are, in fact the true leaders of Israel and that he is behind them. These are humble and faithful men who have submitted to the Lord, and yet they are fallible, they are not perfect. So the ministry is of both of them. Were pointing to one who would be greater than Moses greater than this high priest, Aaron. Remember, Moses, I said was faithful in God’s house, the writer of Hebrew tells us Hebrews tells us that Jesus was faithful in over God’s house. He’s in charge, we saw that Aaron was the one who made atonement here for the people. He was appeasing God’s wrath towards them with this incense. And the writer of Hebrews, this was already read for us says this about Jesus. For this reason he had to be made like them fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people because he himself suffered when he was tempted. He is able to help those who are being tempted. Three times Moses or Moses and Aaron fall facedown, but for the Lord interceding for the people, Moses crying out for God’s mercy on the people and Aaron standing between the living and the dead, reminding up our need for a mediator. And the Apostle Paul tells us we have one better than Aaron. He tells Timothy this for there’s one God and one mediator between God and man. The man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people, Jesus, the media, the high priests submitted his life to God, the Father in the garden when he said, Not my will, but yours be done. He was content, satisfied, trusting in that moment in his father, that’s what he was doing. Which everybody else in this story that comes to Moses and Aaron fails to do. Jesus knows what’s coming. He gave His life as Iran’s to do peace, the wrath of God, not with burning incense, well, the beaten and bloodied and dead body on a cross. And then a restored and resurrected body came out of the grave stood between the living and the dead until death, you don’t go any further. This is it. You have no authority. I have the authority, I have defeated death, I have defeated sin. That’s what Jesus did. Without Aaron, the wrath of God continues to take out the Israelites. Without Jesus, the penalty of sin continues to take each and every one of us but when he stands up, it cannot touch us. It is over the penalty is gone. So we thank God for a faithful and humble, high priest. So to finish, I want to talk to a few groups here. If you are here this morning, and you are you’re seeking lore, like you have some questions. If you’re skeptical of what this might mean, and you hear a story where 15,000 people die in a Chapter, those are good questions. They need to be asked. Right? And we’re just scratching the surface. But if you are here, my question for you is, who are you standing behind right now? That is better. That has more power? That is actually after you’re good? Are you standing not behind someone but just on your own? That’s where a lot of us are. I make the rules. I know what I need. I know what’s better, better than listening to Jesus,
the one who did this for you? Are you listening to others in the world, other ideas in the world and thinking that they promise something better? I don’t want you to find out later that they’re not that they can’t fulfill those promises. All of God’s promises are yes and amen. In Christ Jesus, Are you rebelling against God? God will not let rebellion enter the new heaven and the new earth. He will not let rebellion go on forever. So instead of waiting till that judgment day, separate yourselves like the rest of the people did and get away from those tents. Walk away to something greater to Moses and Aaron and to their God. That’s what we need to do. That’s what I hope you do today. He makes a way and he calls you to respond. And you will not regret it. If you are here, you’re a believer like I’ve been walking with the Lord for a long time. We need to check our hearts constantly for discontentment or are we dissatisfied with where God has us with what he’s doing, or we distrust His promises? Look at Jesus and be content with where he has you now, be faithful where he has you now may not be where you want to be, but it’s where he has you now. So be faithful in that calling. Because you can worship Him at any time in any circumstance. Even in the ordinary. So be content. Look to Jesus and know that God is trustworthy because he fulfills all his promises in Christ and look to Jesus for true satisfaction. Do not be tempted to return to slavery. Remember what that was like? Do not be tempted to say, oh, that’s the land flowing with milk and honey, where I got to do whatever I wanted to do. That is slavery to sin. But instead look to Jesus, and look to the abundant life that’s only found in him. And then church, I know I’m sorry, we’re gonna wait. I told you so. It’s okay. Church. We need to see what this looks like practically now. Because Brandon, and myself and the elders are not Moses. We are not Aaron. And yet as the church God has given leaders and you are called to submit to elders, so what does this look like practically? Essentially, what I’m saying is where there is faithful and biblical leadership that submits the authority of God’s Word. There should be glad submission. Brendan are fallible men. You know that you’ve seen that. We will do this role imperfectly. So guess what we invite your questions. You will have an opinion. You will pray about things. So you can ask questions. There’s a big difference between asking questions seeking understanding and rebel Lean, okay, there’s a big difference between those things. So ask the questions, dialog. But where we walk in line with God’s word. We hope you’re standing behind us as elders of this church. Hebrews 13 seven says, Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy and not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Three quick things that John Piper helps us see in this passage, he distills the meaning down for us in this, what does this look like practically now? For church members have a bent toward trusting your leaders just have a bent towards trusting us what when we present something, when we bring something to you don’t let the first thing up is like, Ah, I don’t like that. We’re asking for you to bend just a little bit into trusting us. And then if you have questions you’re seeking understanding, then ask. Second is have a disposition to be supportive in your attitudes and actions towards the goals and the directions of the leaders. Sometimes we get up here we do not say Thus saith the Lord. Right, at the vision night, in a couple of weeks, we’re gonna share some things about the future. You may disagree, you may not like it. And guess what, that’s okay. So talk to us. But we hope that most of you can just be supportive in your attitude and in your actions towards reaching those goals. And just be inclined to follow. So I know the elders of this church, being among them, of course. And I am thankfully, not only a part of that, but I also am submitting to them as well as we do that with each other.
And so I want you to have confidence in the elders. So I mentioned earlier, worldwide pandemic, and decisions that were made, and opinions that were there. I just want you to know how the elders of this church, we might not have made the right choices on everything. We didn’t. Let’s put it that way. Nobody did. But there was a humility in those meetings and in those discussions, that I’m thankful to be a part of that group that nobody came in thinking they had every answer. And that’s just one thing. As we continue to make choice to continue to follow God’s leading in our church, we want to continue to point you to and lead you to Jesus Christ, who by the way, Hebrews says, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, and of which the elders are also sheep in this congregation. So he is the only one worthy of us standing behind. So let’s follow him. Let’s pray. Lord, we thank You for Your word. It is not an easy passage, it is not a fun passage. Below, we believe it is true. We believe that you are God, the only God that you take the rejection and rebellion against your authority. Those you put it into authority, roles and your authority in your Word, you take that seriously. And we want to be people who bend towards you and not just bend but go all in and following you because we know that your intentions for us are good. We know that we can be content in you that we can trust you that we can be satisfied in you. I pray for each person here this morning that wherever they are in those areas, Lord, that you show up that you reveal yourself to them to let them know that you are the Lord of their salvation. Jesus, we love you. We pray this in Your name.