Summary: You blew it. It was a mistake. Others saw it. Humiliated. Shamed. The laughing stock. Now what? It is time to live daddy down!
Living Daddy Down
I. Text - Numbers 16:1-7, 16-35
Getting on his high horse one day, Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, along with a few Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On, son of Peleth—rebelled against Moses. He had with him 250 leaders of the congregation of Israel, prominent men with positions in the Council. They came as a group and confronted Moses and Aaron, saying, “You’ve overstepped yourself. This entire community is holy and God is in their midst. So why do you act like you’re running the whole show?” On hearing this, Moses threw himself facedown on the ground. Then he addressed Korah and his gang: “In the morning God will make clear who is on his side, who is holy. God will take his stand with the one he chooses. “Now, Korah, here’s what I want you, you and your gang, to do: Tomorrow, take censers. In the presence of God, put fire in them and then incense. Then we’ll see who is holy, see whom God chooses. Sons of Levi, you’ve overstepped yourselves!”
Moses said to Korah, “Bring your people before God tomorrow. Appear there with them and Aaron. Have each man bring his censer filled with incense and present it to God—all 250 censers. And you and Aaron do the same, bring your censers.” So they all did it. They brought their censers filled with fire and incense and stood at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. Moses and Aaron did the same. It was Korah and his gang against Moses and Aaron at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. The entire community (In other words, the whole nation - 1 million people) could see the Glory of God. God said to Moses and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from this congregation so that I can finish them off and be done with them.” They threw themselves on their faces and said, “O God, God of everything living, when one man sins are you going to take it out on the whole community?” God spoke to Moses: “Speak to the community. Tell them, Back off from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram. The leaders of Israel followed him. He then spoke to the community: “Back off from the tents of these bad men; don’t touch a thing that belongs to them lest you be carried off on the flood of their sins.” So they all backed away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram by now had come out and were standing at the entrance to their tents with their wives, children, and babies. Moses continued to address the community: “This is how you’ll know that it was God who sent me to do all these things and that it wasn’t anything I cooked up on my own. If these men die a natural death like all the rest of us, you’ll know that it wasn’t God who sent me. But if God does something unprecedented—if the ground opens up and swallows the lot of them and they are pitched alive into Sheol—then you’ll know that these men have been insolent with God.” The words were hardly out of his mouth when the Earth split open. Earth opened its mouth and in one gulp swallowed them down, the men and their families, all the human beings connected with Korah, along with everything they owned. And that was the end of them, pitched alive into Sheol. The Earth closed up over them and that was the last the community heard of them. At the sound of their cries everyone around ran for dear life, shouting, “We’re about to be swallowed up alive!” Then God sent lightning. The fire cremated the 250 men who were offering the incense.
II. Daddy Goes Down
It was not a good day. It is one thing to make a mistake. It is entirely different to make the worst mistake and choice of your life right out in front of God and everybody. In fact, to make that mistake in front of an entire nation is unthinkable and unbearable. That is this account. This could be the most significant rebellion captured in Scripture other than the rebellion that took place in heaven. How many of you know coming in second only behind Satan himself is not an accomplishment you should strive to obtain! And then to have that accomplishment recorded for generations to recall and remember.
It has become apparent that due to hardheadedness and hard hearts the Israelites, who escaped the hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt, are not going to be able to walk into the Promised Land, but rather circle in the dryness of the dessert. In fact, they are told that everyone who left Egypt will die before the nation inherits the Promise. After that proclamation we run into Numbers 16. Korah, perhaps in response to this proclamation and using a disagreement over priestly clothes, rallies a delegation, a group, a gang, a clique and tries to overthrow the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Korah and 250 of the most prominent men in the nation rise up and accuse Moses and Aaron of getting the big head. They call the nation together and confront Moses. They call him out. They try to publicly correct and chastise him. It is a coup. A takeover. A full-on rebellion and mutiny! A power struggle extraordinaire. A call for people to choose a side. A line drawn in the sand moment. Accusations flying. Anger abounds. Furry is flying. The tension could be cut with a knife.