In my reading this week, Numbers 15-16, I am reminded of the Lord’s mercy and His judgment. His mercy is far more lenient than many of us realize, but overly thankful we are because He it! On the other hand, His judgment is rather severe when those who belong to Him begin to act defiantly.
This is what we have in Numbers 11-16, one defiant act after another. In chapter 11 it was the people complaining of their diet and leaving Egypt; in chapter 12, it was Moses’ siblings; in chapters 13 and 14, it was fear of the people of Israel in preparation of going into the land of promise. Now, in chapters 15 and 16, it is the Lord addressing two kinds of sin; those of an unintentional nature and that which was of a presumptuous nature.
A presumptuous sin (Numbers 15:30) is a sin of defiance (15:31). It is not a sin of mistaken understanding, but one wherein the command is easily understood and then rejected. Korah’s rebellion was of this type.
In the case of this rebellion, there are two things that stand out. First, Moses and Aaron were God’s leaders, and Korah (others) chafed under this leadership. In truth, however, they chafed under God’s leadership. Second, impatience was a vice that stung them mercilessly and, consequently, it resulted in a chafed spirit surfacing into a rebellious spirit.
When God put His leadership standards in place, those who operate contrary to that holy standard operate contrary to the Lord’s expressed will and intention. Though the earth may not open up to devour like it once did (cf. Numbers 16:30-35), one can be sure that at the proper time the Lord’s will expose the counsels of the heart as He did in Korah’s rebellion. This is clearly a lesson from Numbers 16. RT