Numbers / Bemidbar 16:1 - 18:32
For the week of June 27, 1998
3 Tammuz 5758
It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded
The world is not what it was intended to be. Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, we find ourselves in a world of trouble and strife. But we anticipate the day when God will renew his creation. One day He will reign over all the Earth and there will be peace.
Until then we will live with the continual tension of knowing that things are not as they should be. How they should be is something about which each of us may disagree. Those of us who desire change are motivated in different ways. While some may long for God's glory days, others are just looking for a better life for themselves. Some see the plight of the suffering masses and long for justice and equality in the world. Others are motivated by anger, jealously, and bitterness towards those who they think have been preferred over themselves. Sometimes it is very difficult to understand what our motives for change are. But whether they be noble or otherwise, all of us at some time or other desire change.
This week's portion is about people who wanted change. Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and 250 other prominent leaders of the community opposed Moses and Aaron. They accused them of setting themselves up above the rest of the community. They were highly critical of what had gone on since their departure from Egypt, saying that life there had been better (How soon we forget!).
Great things have been accomplished by people who want change, but in this case the ground opened up and swallowed the three primary instigators alive, while fire consumed the other 250.
What was it that had brought on such a severe response from God?
It wasn't just change to a difficult situation they these people wanted. It was not some noble cause that motivated them. They were rebelling against God himself.
Is it that God is so insecure that he destroys anyone who disagrees with him? We have many occasions in the Scriptures where people disagreed with God or asked him to change his plans. God even seems to welcome this kind of interaction. But this situation is different, however, in that they were going against what God had established. In addition, they were doing so in a rebellious manner. They were not interested in truth or God's will, they just wanted their own way.
Many people are suffering today, not because of oppression or the wrongdoing of others, but rather because of an unwillingness to accept the unchangeable things in life: our sex, our parents, our national origin, etc. God desires our best. No one can bring about change like he. But he insists that we cooperate with him. We need to learn that he really does know best.