“We will not come up. Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness?” Numbers 16:12-13
Moses tried to set up a meeting with Dathan and Abiram, but they refused to come. Communication broke down. And instead of reasoning together, the whole conflict descended to the level of slogans and misrepresentations.
The following day the issue came to a head. Korah and his 250 followers were quite convinced that they could come directly before the Lord. They didn’t need to go through the priests. They could be their own priests. So, Moses invited them to do what priests do, bring a censer—a bowl with fire and incense—before the Lord. That was something that only the priests did.
At that moment, the people were faced with a choice. Moses said to them, “Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram” (16:24, NIV). Then God gave words to Moses and he spoke as a prophet: “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me and that it was not my idea… if…the earth opens its mouth and swallows them…then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt” (16:28, 30).
As soon as he said it, the ground under the 250 split apart. A crack in the floor of the desert opened up like an earthquake. Korah and all who were with him took a plunge to disaster. There is one very simple lesson to take from this story: If you want to avoid Korah’s plunge to disaster, learn to submit to authority.
Are you resisting an authority that God has clearly established? Why?