Summary: At first glance the book of Numbers reads a bit like an operations manual. It’s got numbers of soldiers, lists of names, and a bit of repetition. Tucked between those lists and numbers are some stories of real people, dealing with real issues of faith!
BETWEEN THE NUMBERS
-Years ago I was talking to a woman about a situation she was in.
-She was describing someone that was causing problems her in life and was asking me for advice.
-And she used A WORD that shocked me!
-People are usually pretty careful about what words they use around their pastor.
-She said, “That woman is a...ENEMY!”
-It shocked me because I’d never heard someone refer to someone else as their enemy.
-I’d never really given much thought about having personal enemies. Who they are. Why they are. And what to do about it.
-I know the word enemy is a biblical term…
-But in my mind enemies were always groups or nations.
-“Al Qaeda, the USSR, Beaver Nation.
-Up until the conversation with that lady I can honestly say I’d never really considered anyone an enemy of mine.
-We may not use that word but we have all had enemies.
-Today in Numbers we’re looking at an incident involving Moses and some enemies who arose in his camp.
-And my prayer is that this passage will give us some insights about dealing with our own enemies.
16:1 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.
-Some times we get bogged down in our Bible reading when we read about tribes and who was a son of whom.
-But if you pay close attention you catch these little details.
-Korah, the instigator of this conspiracy against Moses, was a grandson of Kohath.
-But Kohath wasn’t just the grandfather of Korah, he was also the grandfather of Moses.
-So the man leading the conspiracy against Moses was his first cousin Korah. Some of you may have cousins like that!
2 They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly.
-It’s no small thing that Korah had done to Cousin Moses.
-He has gone out and actively recruited other prominent leaders to gang up on Moses and stage a little coup.
-We’ve all seen people do things like this.
-Instead of talking to someone and working out their differences, they start rallying support.
-They spread seeds of dissension. They start lobbying, lying and conniving to undermine the people in power.
-Maybe you’ve been part of something like this. It’s ugly stuff.
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?”
-Korah was the one with the axe to grind. He was the one who was unhappy. He was the ringleader of the opposition party.
-And by the time he talks to Moses you’ll notice that he has designated himself the official spokesperson for all of God’s people. With a crowd, he was feeling confident.
-“Everyone is saying…everyone thinks…everyone is mad at you.”
-We’ve all seen this before.
-Somehow, for some reason, Korah and his crowd felt slighted by the prominent role of Moses.
-For some reason they had it in for Moses.
-For some reason he was threatened by the success of Moses.
-It’s important to note that Korah and all the Kohathites had a very important and distinguished role in Israel.
-Down in verse 15 we’re told that their job was to carry all of the most holy things when the Tabernacle was moved.
-Of all the Levitical priests in Israel only the Kohathites had this distinguished privilege of guarding the sacred temple objects.
-If you look down to verses 8-11 Moses brought this up to them:
8 Then Moses spoke again to Korah: “Now listen, you Levites! 9 Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the Lord’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them? 10 Korah, he has already given this special ministry to you and your fellow Levites.
-Korah was overlooking what he had and coveting (or resenting) what Moses had. He had a ministry but he wanted Moses ministry
-Church: Jealousy, bitterness, pride, and critical spirits are a proven recipe for creating enemies.
-Instead of sticking with his family, instead of supporting God’s chosen leader, Korah became an enemy of Moses that day.
WHAT QUALIFIES SOMEONE AS AN ENEMY? (vs 1-3)
-In our text we’re told that:
-Korah conspired against Moses…he was active in opposing him.
-Korah got other people to turn against Moses…250 other leaders
-Korah assassinated the character of Moses…saying things that weren’t true about him.