Monday, February 20, 2012

Numbers 17:12-13 12 Then the sons of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, "Behold, we perish, we are dying, we are all dying! 13 "Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, must die. Are we to perish completely?"

In God's Word, the people of Israel were in the wilderness and as they journeyed through the arid desert, a group led by Korah assembled together "against Moses and Aaron" (Num 16:3) and accused them of "exalting themselves above the assembly of the LORD" (16:3b).



Humbly, Moses fell on his face and reminded them of their sacred task — and privilege! — to "do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord ... and to stand before the congregation to minister to them" (16:8-9). Yet they still complained, grumbled, and rose up in rebellion against God's people.

Finally, the historical record notes, the "earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions" (16:32). It says that they went "alive down into Sheol [the grave]" (16:33) and then "the earth closed over them and they perished from the midst of the assembly" (16:33b).

Just a bit later, the sons of Israel spoke to Moses saying: "Behold we perish, we are dying, we are all dying!" They continued by recognizing that "everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD must die. Are we to perish completely" (17:12-13)?

That God had killed nearly 15,000 people because of their rebellion made an impact. The people recognized that their nation was dying.

Why?

The simple reason that they did not treat God as holy nor did they treat Moses and Aaron — the leaders whom God had chosen — with due respect. The assembly of Israel rose up in pride, in murmuring, with complaining and rebellious spirits refusing to trust in the Lord and in the leaders that God had ordained. And they suffered — greatly.

But let us learn from this historical account that everyone who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD must die if *sin is not dealt with properly.* If there is sin in our hearts, complaints on our tongues, rebellious spirits guiding our paths, and arrogance lifting high our hearts, we are not to come near to the tabernacle of the LORD.

Remember as David wrote in Psalm 15:


O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart.
He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the LORD; He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.


Remember to confess your sins, walk in humility, tremble before the awesomeness of God, and stand in awe of the divine power of God. Come to Christ again with repentant hearts confessing your sin and find the rivers of God's mercy flowing to cover your sin with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.

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