Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Numbers 16-17 Separate and interceding

From Numbers 16-17

Q. Have you ever heard of the expression, 'You're in his good books?'

Num 16.1-15 Story-Sin; Korah and his sons rebel against Moses and Aaron
Num 16.16-35 Story-Sin; The LORD wiped out Korah and his family
Num 16.36-40 Story; Aaron's sons appointed to serve the LORD
Num 16.41-50 Story-Sin; The remaining congregation rebel. Aaron hastily atones for them.
Num 17.1-13 Story; Aarons staff budded indicating the LORD's approval of him.
Passage and Comments
The whole two chapters here are noteworthy. The story goes, Korah and his sons got jealous of Aaron and his sons who conducted the worship and were allowed to go into the Holy places. So they complained. Obviously having little recollection of what happens to those who rebel against the LORD's chosen servants.
16 And Moses said to Korah, “Be present, you and all your company, before the LORD, you and they, and Aaron, tomorrow. 17 And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the LORD his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.” 18 So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation. 20 And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” 22 And they fell on their faces and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?” 23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Say to the congregation, Get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” 25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” 27 So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones. 28 And Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. 29 If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD.” 31 And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. 32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. (Num 16:16–33)
The LORD is still angry with the people he has previously rejected tells Moses and Aaron to stand aside with their families so he can blast them all. Moses and Aaron immediately intercede and the LORD relents, destroying only Aaron and his family.
Then the remaining congregation is so stupid and rebellious that it defies explanation rebels against Moses and Aaron again. They must have a death wish or something.
41 But on the next day all the congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the LORD.” 42 And when the congregation had assembled against Moses and against Aaron, they turned toward the tent of meeting. And behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared. 43 And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, 44 and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from the midst of this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. 46 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, and put fire on it from off the altar and lay incense on it and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the LORD; the plague has begun.” 47 So Aaron took it as Moses said and ran into the midst of the assembly. And behold, the plague had already begun among the people. And he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. 49 Now those who died in the plague were 14,700, besides those who died in the affair of Korah. 50 And Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting, when the plague was stopped. (Num 16:41–50)

Thus they provoke the LORD again and this time he sets in motion a plague. Moses and Aaron again swiftly make atonement for these stupid rebellious people but only after 14700 were killed.
Aaron and his sons are given a sign by the LORD by while people will know they are the LORD's chosen priests.

The LORD makes a clear differentiation between Moses, Aaron, with the rebellious people. What are we to make of this? Two things. First, to my mind the LORD looks out and cares for his people. He is especially protective of them.  Second, the LORD has given a specific role to his people. Here we see Moses and Aaron interseeding for the people.

Story of Jesus
At one point in time while we were sinners God was this angry with us. But then, Jesus propitiated the LORD's wrath taking the punishment we deserve upon himself. Now indwelt by his Spirit, we call him Father. As his people we should be interseeding for those who do not know him. Consider what will happen if we don’t.