The Earth Swallows!
Scripture reading for February 15th: Numbers 13-16
Earthquakes have been in the news lately. The earthquake in Haiti took the lives of over 200,000 people. Many were buried alive by rubble of buildings or crushed by them when they fell. The Bible tells us a story that reminds us of an earthquake and that cost the lives of several families while a whole nation watched it happen. God sent a special kind of earthquake at a precise moment to signify His displeasure with some of His people who who were insolent and defiant against God’s chosen authority. This judgment is an interesting picture of the final judgment for rejecting God’s chosen authority, Jesus Christ!
A Levite named Korah, along with Dathan and Abiram from the tribe of Reuben began to talk against Moses. There were 250 leaders in this group that went to Moses and Aaron and accused them of going too far in assuming leadership of the nation. Their view was that everyone was holy and the Lord was with each person. (Numbers 16:1-3) They each thought that they should be able to offer sacrifices and take the job of priest before God. Moses’ response was to fall face-down in intercession. I bet Moses had a flat nose from doing this each time there was trouble or rebellion!
Moses was instructed by the Lord to set up a meeting the next day where all the 250 leaders plus Moses and Aaron would appear before the Tent of Meeting with their censers filled with fire and incense. God would then signify His choice of leadership. Moses spoke directly to Korah and rebuked him and then called for Dathan and Abiram but they refused to come. Moses became angry and prayed that the Lord not accept their sacrifice. (Numbers 16:12-15)
The next day they gathered before the Tent of Meeting. God instructed Moses to move everyone away from Korah, Dathan and Abiram and their families and tents. Moses and Aaron had fallen face-down to intercede again but got up to obey. As they warned the people, the earth opened and swallowed these men and their families, alive and screaming, into Sheol! (Numbers 16:20-30) The 250 men with censers were burned to a crisp! What a terrible sight this must have been, provoking fear in the people! However, the very next day they again grumbled that Moses and Aaron had killed the Lord’s people! Rejecting God’s leadership has eternal consequences!