In Numbers chapter 16, a group of the Israelites begin to question Moses and Aaron’s authority over the people. Korah is leading a group of priests who question Aaron’s right to be the chief priest. They seem to think that they all should get a chance to lead. Dathan and Abiram are leading a group that question Moses’ leadership. They say that Moses hadn’t done what he said he would, even though the reason they couldn’t enter the Promised Land was the people’s lack of trust in God.
So Moses and Aaron scheduled a test for God to show who was in charge. Korah and his men (250) and Aaron all took a censer (a container for burning incense), filled it, lit it and stood before the Lord at the tabernacle. Then the Lord appeared and told Moses and Aaron to step away from the people so He could destroy them all. Moses and Aaron once again showed their great love for the people by falling on their faces and asking God to not destroy everyone for the sins of a few.
God agreed, so Moses told everyone to get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Moses told them that God would destroy them in a miraculous way to show that Moses was the leader. Then the ground opened up under the tents of the rebels and swallowed them up. Can you imagine that? The earth just opening up a giant hole then closing back?! Then fire came from the Lord and destroyed the 250 men who were offering incense. The priests were told to take the censers out of the fire and reshape them into a covering for the altar so that the people would remember the incident and who was supposed to present offerings.
But what does that have to do with us today? Moses and Aaron are long gone but God still places people in authority to lead His people. We need to follow their leadership and treat them with respect. Even leaders make mistakes and we are not called to follow blindly, but as long as your leaders are making Godly decisions you are called to obey and respect them. The Bible says they will pay a great price if they lead you astray, but your job is to follow!
Who are people in authority over you? (Parents, teachers, pastors, law enforcement, government officials) What can you do to show respect? (Speak politely, follow instructions in a timely manner, etc.) How can you respectfully handle when your leader makes a mistake? (Quietly discuss it with someone else in authority, question them politely)