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Numbers 16:8-11

Rebellion of the Ungrateful

8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: 9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? 10 And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? 11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?


Moses confronted Korah and the Levites who were following him in his rebellion against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. "Does what God has done for you seem like such a small thing?" This question could have been asked of any one of us. The good things of God are so numerous and so constant that we often take them for granted. Greed is part of the human nature, whether it is the lust for more money, more power or more recognition.

What had God done for Korah and his Levite followers? He had separated them from the rest of the congregation of Israel to distinguish them with the sacred honor of serving Him in the tabernacle where the glory of God rested. This by itself was a great honor. No other person, except Aaron and his sons, among the more than one million people of the congregation was able to come into the tabernacle and do the service of the Lord.

The Levites were also entrusted with the moving and setting up of the tabernacle. They were allowed to touch the instruments of worship, an act that would have resulted in death for any other. This was a serious and very sacred responsibility, but it seems to not have satisfied them.

The Levites were also given the sacred trust of ministering to the people. Perhaps this refers to the service of receiving their offerings and presenting them to the priests for the sacrifice. It is possible that they inspected the animals that were brought for the sacrifice in order to be certain that they were spotless and without blemish before taking them to the priests.

Most importantly, God had brought them near to Him. How easy it is to forget that greatest of all blessings. He has drawn every Christian to Himself. Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44) We are nearer to God than any other people and still we are as ungrateful as those Levites were.

Matthew Henry reminds us that, "It was not long since the sons of Levi had bravely appeared on God's side, in the matter of the golden calf, and got immortal honour by it; and shall those that were then the only innocents now be the leading criminals, and lose all the honour they had won? Could there be such chaff on God's floor? Levites, and yet rebels?"

Yes! Rebels they were, and Moses asked, "...and seek ye the priesthood also?" The priesthood of Aaron was a type of the priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ. "For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD:" Such upheavals within the church are not taken to be against the church's leadership but are considered by God to be a personal attack against Him.

"...and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?" True servants of God are nothing more than instruments in His hands. Why would we fight against them? Aaron was placed in his position as the high priest, not because of anything that was good in him, but because God chose to use him to accomplish His purpose. This only highlights the fact that the rebellion was against God.

Before The Throne:

Are you aware of the wonderful privileges that God has bestowed upon you by drawing you to Christ? You have been set aside for His service with more responsibility than the Levites. You are a priest in the royal priesthood of God. Confess your ingratitude and give thanks for what He has done in your life. You can come boldly before the throne of grace. Use it. Ask how you can better serve Him in your present position.

For Further Study:

(v.9)
** Seemeth it but. Num 16:13; Gen 30:15; 1Sam 18:23; 2Sam 7:19; Isa 7:13; Ezek 34:18; 1Cor 4:3; ** separated. Num 1:53; Num 3:41-45; Num 8:14-16; Num 18:2-6; Deut 10:8; 2Chr 35:3; Neh 12:44; Ezek 44:10-11; Acts 13:2;

(v.10) ** and seek. Prov 13:10; Matt 20:21-22; Luke 22:24; Rom 12:10; Phil 2:3; 3John 1:9;

(v.11) ** against. Num 16:3; 1Sam 8:7; Luke 10:16; John 13:20; Rom 13:2; ** what is Aaron. Exod 16:7-8; Exod 17:2; Acts 5:4; 1Cor 3:5;

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