Daily Devotional Monday 24th August 2020

by William Moody

Numbers 16:1–21

Korah’s Rebellion

16:1 Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the LORD will show who is his,1 and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him. Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; put fire in them and put incense on them before the LORD tomorrow, and the man whom the LORD chooses shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!” And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the LORD and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, 10 and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore it is against the LORD that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?”

12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and they said, “We will not come up. 13 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, that you must also make yourself a prince over us? 14 Moreover, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up.” 15 And Moses was very angry and said to the LORD, “Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, and I have not harmed one of them.”

16 And Moses said to Korah, “Be present, you and all your company, before the LORD, you and they, and Aaron, tomorrow. 17 And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the LORD his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.” 18 So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation.

20 And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.”


[1] 16:5 Septuagint The Lord knows those who are his


Moses and Aaron face another challenge led by three Levites Korah, Dathan and Abiram who were accompanied by 250 others (v1-3). They accuse them of being too strict in their teaching and of arrogance in setting themselves above the people. This was a lie as Moses was humble (see 12 v3).

There is the danger that those who preach and lead are misunderstood and seen as setting themselves above others, when they just seek to be faithful in obeying God in sharing His Word. We need to be watchful as the devil seeks to create ill feeling towards those who preach and lead.

Moses summons the people to meet for God to show who He accepts (v4-7). In what Moses says to Korah (v8-10) we see there is jealousy of the priests and an attempt by these Levites to push themselves forward for a new role. The big problem is that their actions in refusing to accept the authority and role of those appointed by God, they are resisting God (v11).

Dathan and Abiram refuse to come and meet (v12). They are happy to complain and keep complaining but have little desire to have things resolved. In doing this they fire fresh accusations at Moses (v13-14).

Moses’ anger is understandable (v15). We see here that leadership brings great pressure which is added to by unfair criticisms.

Korah and his followers at least are willing to come and they appear each carrying a censer used for carrying burnt incense (v16-18).

God appears in glory but also with great anger announcing His desire to judge the whole assembly (v19-21). We need to be very watchful against a complaining and resisting spirit which arouses the great anger in the Lord.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.