Yet again Moses is faced with a peoples’ rebellion, but this time it questions his right of leadership: Moses’ cousin Korah allies with two disgruntled Reubenites, Dathan and Abiram, to challenge his right to lead. To make matters worse, they recruit 250 men from the tribal leadership to join them. Their complaint is: “God has made all of Israel a kingdom of priests (Ex 19:5-6) and He dwells among them; why then is Moses the ‘chosen one’ to speak directly with God?” Put in 21st Century vernacular, “Who died and made you king?” Moses takes their complaint to God, and He proposes a test to confirm His chosen leader: both groups are to make an offering of incense to God, and He will reveal His man. The rebels should be very concerned about this test because it was only one year before that two others offered strange incense to God and were struck dead on the spot (Lev 10:1-2). This time God demonstrates His displeasure by opening the ground beneath Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their families, swallowing them alive into the earth. Additionally, the 250 Princes of Israel are consumed by fire from heaven; those making the sacrifice offering become the Burnt Offering! God’s Justice is perfect. Because of their disobedience, another 14,700 people also die in this rebellion. Thus God confirms His selection of Moses to lead Israel.
Aaron’s Rod That Budded
God goes on to confirm Aaron’s priesthood with another test: the leader of each of the 12 Tribes is instructed to bring a dead stick into the Tabernacle. God identifies Aaron as His chosen Priest by causing his dead stick to not only bud, but also to blossom and bring forth ripe almonds! By bringing Aaron’s dead stick to life and having it bear fruit, God confirms the work of His Spirit through Aaron and the Priesthood.
The Lesson for Us Today
When Moses is faced with a challenge, he takes his conflict before God rather than trying to solve it in fleshly ways. How much better would all of our lives be if we followed Moses’ example?