For the week of June 25, 2011 / 23 Sivan 5771
Torah: Bemidbar / Numbers 16:1 - 18:32
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 11:14 - 12:22
Originally posted the week of June 23, 2001 / 2 Tammuz 5761

Go to God

They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to 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 Korah and all 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." (Bemidbar / Numbers 16:3-5).

Moses went through a lot. He didn't want this job in the first place. Sure - originally, years earlier he thought he would try to help his people and took matters into his own hands. But now that he was older and wiser, the desire to be the Great Deliverer had been purged from his soul. It was God's idea to send him back to Egypt, and although he resisted, God prevailed and Moses became a leader.

I have heard it said that part of Moses' time, being a shepherd in the wilderness, was to prepare him for leading the people through there. That is probably true, but not in the way some people think. It wasn't his knowledge of the wilderness itself that made him adequate for the job. It wasn't the day in and day out of sheep herding that taught him the necessary group dynamics of how to lead two million ex-slaves from bondage to conquest. The primary lesson he learned during those forty years prior to God's call was one of dependency upon God.

Moses had gone from status in Pharaoh's palace to the life of a fugitive, running for his life. Cut off from everything he knew, at age forty he had to start life over so to speak, and work a menial job.

This week's portion shows us how he dealt with the predicaments he faced. When challenged by Korah and those with him, the Torah says, "When Moses heard this, he fell facedown" (Bemidbar / Numbers 16:4). Then he spoke to them. Over and over again whether Moses was confronting Pharaoh, speaking to the leaders of Israel, or dealing with the people's grumbling, he looked to God.

What a way to react to being confronted! He got on his face! I don't think this was his way of showing reverence to Korah, or that Moses was completely overwhelmed. This was Moses' leadership posture. He looked to God. Then he dealt with the situation.

We don't find Moses finding guidance based on his vast learning acquired in Pharaoh's court, or from his own years of wilderness wanderings. Whenever he faced a situation he went to God, who gave him the wisdom he needed.

Isn't this what we all should do?

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).

So the next time you are in a situation you cannot handle, maybe you should do what Moses did.

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