Numbers 16:5–6, Who is his…take censers. Incense is a biblical metaphor for the prayers of men coming up before YHVH’s throne (Rev 5:8; 8:3). YHVH accepts some men’s prayers as holy and rejects the prayers of other men whom he deems not to be holy. The story of Korah teaches us that YHVH doesn’t hear the prayers of self-centered, self-seeking, prideful and jealous rebels such as Korah et al (Prov 15:29). YHVH’s ears are open to the prayers of the righteous (Ps 34:15; 1 Pet 3:12; Jas 5:16; Heb 11:6). The prayers of a righteous man can be hindered, as well, due to unrighteous behavior such as not treating his wife in a godly manner (1 Pet 3:7), or because we have ought with our brother (Matt 5:23–24).
Numbers 16:14, You have not brought us. The sinful pride of the rebels blinded their ability to see why they had been permitted to come into the Promised Land. Instead of taking personal responsibility for their sin and rebellion as the cause of their plight, they accused and blamed Moses. This is a typical ploy of carnal men who don’t get their way. To get the heat off of themselves, they pass the buck and blame others. In psychological terms this is referred to as projection (blaming others for what you are doing yourself). This blame shifting is a form of obfuscation or psychological manipulation through the use or smoke and mirrors. Some people have turned this into a way of life and, sadly, is largely how they relate to other people.
Numbers 16:19, The glory of YHVH appeared. May the day come soon when the glory of YHVH will begin to appear, so that everyone can see who are his true servants and who are not. In this way,YHVH will make a difference between his holy saints and those who feign it illegitimately (pause and reflect on 1 Pet 4:12–18).
Numbers 16:31, The ground split apart. There earth splitting open and swallowing these rebels is likely a prophetic foreshadow of YHVH’s judgment against the ultimate arch-rebel and usurper of authority, namely Satan the devil, when YHVH will judge him at the end of this age by casting him into he bottomless pit or abyss (Rev 20:1–3).
Numbers 16:35, The children of Israel murmured. Here we see an example of YHVH’s judgment. These 250 men were the wrong men (they were not priests) offering up to YHVH the right fire (presumably from the altar of sacrifice). YHVH struck down Nadab and Abihu who were the right men (they were priests), but they used strange fire (Lev 10:1–2). What can we learn from this? Does YHVH have his prescribed method of how humans are to approach him? Discuss why leaders carry greater responsibility to not lead the people astray and how they will come under greater judgment if they do.Continue reading