Read Numbers 16:1–35
She took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.Genesis 3:6
In August 2011, the fatal police shooting of a young black man set off a string of violent riots in London. More than 4,000 people were arrested in the days and weeks that followed. One of those arrested was a young teenage girl who didn’t actually participate in the riots but kept a pair of stolen shorts her friends had looted from a store. She was jailed for six months.
That may seem harsh, but judges were trying to send a tough message to Londoners: don’t implicate yourself in crime. That message might have served the Israelites during their forty years of wilderness wandering, where lack of food and water created conditions for mob rebellion.
In Numbers 16, four men incited the congregation against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Korah, who appeared to be the ringleader, was a descendant of the tribe of Levi. As such, he had been commissioned—along with every other adult male Levite—with the charge of the tabernacle. When the Israelites traveled, the Levites carried the tent and its furnishings. When the Israelites made camp, the Levites put up the tabernacle; when they left camp, they broke it down.
This God-given charge was not enough for Korah, who aspired to have the responsibilities of the priests. He was joined in his argument by members of another tribe, the Reubenites. How quickly they began trying to convince the people that Moses’ leadership had been to their detriment.
The judgment against Korah, Dathan and Abiram was swift, severe, and supernatural, and it’s a terrifying scene to imagine. They were gathered with their wives and young children at the entrances of their tent when the earth opened up and swallowed them.
Apply the Word
Sin is never a solitary event. Eve shared the forbidden fruit with Adam; Korah mustered up a crowd of rebels to join him. Perhaps this is one reason for the Bible’s emphasis on choosing one’s friends wisely (Prov. 13:20). We belong to Christ’s body, the church, and it’s in community that we find the strength and help to fight temptation (Heb. 10:24, 25).
Pray with Us
We pray the students gain knowledge that will help them reach others for Christ.