Today’s Reading: Numbers 16:1 – 18:32
I love democracy. Seems reasonable enough for me to say that. I come from a country with a rich history of democracy. I even studied political science when I was in the university. I believe in it so strongly I anxiously await the day when the rest of the world’s oppressed peoples have a chance to taste its sweet fruit.
The real value of democracy is the power of the people and the free market of ideas. If some political leader comes up with a new idea for the region, he can promote it, get elected and make the change. If 4 years later people no longer like, maybe a newer or better idea comes along, they can vote the first politician out and bring in a new one. Kind of like a newer brand of toilet paper. More absorbent! People share their mind with their vote.
There is one problem with democracies, especially young democracies – the people do not always know what is best for them. They might vote in some politician who is promising free meals, free cars, permanent jobs and everlasting peace. They may vote for promises that are unrealistic and unachievable. They vote because it sounds good and they can’t reason out why it is not a good idea. Unfortunately, democracies have difficulties at times because they are very dependent on humans – humans that can make mistakes.
Today’s story is a perfect example of what happens when people start to think they know better than the ones in charge. It is a perfect example of the people being misled and promised something that they were never going to receive.
Numbers 16:1 – 3 NLT
1 One day Korah son of Izhar, a descendant of Kohath son of Levi, conspired with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, from the tribe of Reuben. 2 They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly. 3 They united against Moses and Aaron and said, “You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the Lord, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?”
Here are the list of Korah’s mistakes:
1. He acted as a part of a conspiracy instead of focusing on his job as a Levite. He had a job, he should have been doing. It was not just any job, it was a job dedicated to the Lord.
2. He blames Moses and Aaron for decisions and directions the Lord had made. He removed God from the equation. He forgot who was Lord.
3. He ignored the words of the Lord. The Lord has explicitly and specifically picked the Levites to be the priests responsible for the activities related to the altar and the tabernacle. He did choose the tribe of Reuben. Korah convinced his cohorts, who were from the tribe of Rueben that they could do the job of the Levites. He ignored God’s teaching on this subject.
Remember what we read a few days ago?
Numbers 3:6 – 10 NLT
6 “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. 7 They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. 8 They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. 9 Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him. 10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary is to be put to death.”
As you read the story you well see how well God, Moses and Aaron deal with this insurrection. Ultimately, Korah and his cohorts get their just reward…
Numbers 16: 32- 35 NLT
32 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. 33 So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel. 34 All the people around them fled when they heard their screams. “The earth will swallow us, too!” they cried. 35 Then fire blazed forth from the Lord and burned up the 250 men who were offering incense.
The point is this, man in all of his wisdom will never, no matter how great a political system he creates will never be able to vote more reasonably than God can decide. God’s wisdom is far greater than man’s.
Proverbs 14;12 NIV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.