“They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?’" (Numbers 16:3).
Following their spies evil report about the Promised Land and their own lack of faith in God’s promises, Israel begins their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33-34). Some among them begin to blame Moses’ leadership instead of their own lack of faith for their having not reached the Promised Land. Korah leads a group of 250 other leaders in Israel and they begin to challenge the authority of Moses as the above verse shows (Number 16:1-3). God did not take this matter lightly.
In fact, God will have each of these 250 men bring a censer filled with fire and incense and come before the Lord at the tabernacle of meeting. Korah and his family are swallowed up by the earth and the 250 men who participated in the rebellion with Korah are devoured by fire (Numbers 16:23-35). God has Eleazar the priest take the bronze censers that these men had used and hammers them out as a covering for the altar to serve as a memorial. Every time an Israelite came to the tabernacle and saw the altar of burnt offering outside the tabernacle, they would be reminded of the importance of respecting God’s authority and those whom God has placed in positions of authority (Numbers 16:36-40).
As Americans we have difficulty wanting to respect authority. One of our founding fathers Thomas Jefferson said, “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing…” However, it is fundamental for us as Christians to learn to live within the boundaries God has set for us. We are told to submit to God so that the devil may flee from us (James 4:7). At times, in my own Christian life I have brought a lot of misery upon myself by trying to fight against God’s authority and questioning why He commands certain things. This has made me feel resentful towards Him and at odds with those who teach and preach His Word.
I need to remember that God is God, not me. My life is much more peaceful when I accept that God has all authority and I don’t need to “question” his authority. I just need to accept it. I need to have the attitude of Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears” (I Samuel 3:9). Today, rejoice in God’s authority as He guides you in your walk with Him!“Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:135)