why do you lift yourselves up?…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From Numbers 16:

 1Now Korach (Korah) the son of Yitz’har (Izhar), the son of K’hat (Kohath), the son of Levi, along with Datan(Dathan) and Aviram (Abiram), the sons of Eli’av (Eliab), and On, the son of Pelet (Peleth), descendants of Re’uven (Reuben), took men and 2rebelled against Moshe (Moses). Siding with them were 250 men of Isra’el, leaders of the community, key members of the council, men of reputation. 3They assembled themselves against Moshe(Moses) and Aharon(Aaron) and said to them, “You take too much on yourselves! After all, the entire community is holy, every one of them, and Adonai is among them. So why do you lift yourselves up above Adonai’s assembly?”

4When Moshe (Moses)heard this he fell on his face. 5Then he said to Korach (Korah) and his whole group, “In the morning, Adonai will show who are his and who is the holy person he will allow to approach him. Yes, he will bring whomever he chooses near to himself. 6Do this: take censers, Korach (Korah)and all your group; 7put fire in them; and put incense in them before Adonai tomorrow. The one whom Adonai chooses will be the one who is holy! It is you, you sons of Levi, who are taking too much on yourselves!”

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/num.16>

*words in parentheses placed by me from English translation.

Korah is a Levite whose assignment from God – given through Moses – is to work in the temple serving the people but not as a priest.  Dathan, Abiram, and On serve as leaders of the community.  Questions are raised against the authority that was granted by God; they are coming from two camps; religious and political.  Dissatisfaction with the present assignment is causing strife.  They are ambitious and arrogant.  They say they are asking for the ability to assist or share in the responsibilities of Moses and Aaron.  This is deception.  They manipulate the assembly through the use of words.  They question the mantle of authority placed upon Moses and Aaron by God.

Moses does not defend himself.  The opposite is true.  He lays prostrate on the ground before the assembly; his is an act of humility and vulnerability.  His trust is in God and His Word, not in his own accomplishments. God has already spoken on the subject.  (See Leviticus 30:9) The question:  why do you lift yourselves up above Adonai’s assembly?” is directed at Moses before the people but as God told Moses before; in reality it is directed at God. It is God’s Word that they rebel against.  Moses rises from the dirt to say they will once again let God speak His will.

Two groups, Moses and Aaron, anointed by God, and some leaders of the community are in conflict.  The first relies upon God for direction and wisdom, the second relies on their own imagination, reasoning and abilities.  This type of conflict persists today among the community of believers.  It has been suggested that what is also at work here is an example of spiritual immaturity.  Those in rebellion have not engaged in the spiritual battles Moses has.  They have not had the same communication with God.  This is evidenced by their actions. What did they know of Moses’ relationship with God?  Did they not know that Moses and Aaron acted only under the direct command of God?  These rebels did not face Pharaoh…as Moses and Aaron had. When conflicts of this nature arise today it is best to seek God for wisdom.  The Word of God gives the believer the advice to seek unity not division, to serve one another not selfish desires.

Pray – Lord, examine me to see if I am living the life of trust in You.  The Messiah is alive in me and You say I am not a failure.  I pray to God, to You, that I will do nothing wrong.  2 Corinthians 13:5-7

Repent – I repent for the times I was more concerned about what others thought than what You think.

Ask – I cannot act against the truth, only for it.  So I will rejoice when I am weak and You are strong.  You are not weak in dealing with me, but strong.

Yes – You died in weakness but rose in power and You are powerful in me.  I will live with You, Jesus, by God’s power. 2 Corinthian 13:1-10

Source: Numbers 16 and 2 Corinthians 13:1-10

Under attack…

Acts 16:16 – 21

Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.  This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days.

But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.  But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”

 This is the killing of the Golden Goose.  This young girl was the golden goose, laying golden eggs for her masters.  They did not prevent her from harassing the two sent to that town by the Holy Spirit, Paul and Silas.  The spirit that enabled her to be a source of income was not of God and Paul obeys the prompting of the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus  it leaves the girl and with it  goes the income for the owners.  Freedom for the girl from the bondage of darkness is obtained, but the bondage to love of money continues for the owners.  Freedom comes with a price.  Freeing the cripple to walk, freeing the sick, now freeing from spiritual bondage all brought conflict and suffering to the messengers.  Paul finds himself brought before the magistrates, facing the arm of the law for removing the source of income.  There is no mercy for the young slave and before this no mercy for the ill.  The law reigns supreme; man’s law.   And those freed from the law find themselves in conflict with it and facing suffering at the hands of humanity.

 When we share we risk the same conflict.  The work of the Holy Spirit can bring us to a place of suffering as we are obedient.  Are we prepared to face that conflict and that suffering?  Our laws  today begin to strangle the message of freedom and salvation through Christ.  Some already face consequences within our legal system for their sharing of the word of God.  Are we prepared, is our love for Christ deep enough?  Questions to take us into a place of reflection and searching.  If we are allowing the everyday things of this life to interfere now, how can we withstand a conflict that becomes more personal and potentially harmful?  The tree that continues to stand in spite of drought, floods, wind storms, heat and cold, is a tree that is rooted and strong.  Let us take care to be that tree planted by the stream that brings forth fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither  Remain close to the stream of life found in scripture, become fruitful as we study, pray and learn of the Holy Spirit what God has for us, and our leaves will not wither with the storms, we will remain strong in Him.

“I see Jesus…”

Acts 7:54-60

When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.  But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. 

The reaction to Stephen’s sharing tells it all.  Those who do not believe, often cannot stand to be exposed to the Word or the presence of the Holy Spirit.  They react violently, often at the top of their voices.  “...they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him …”  What a contrast between the spirit in mankind in general and the spirit in the believer filled with the Holy Spirit.  It says in the Word that you shall know them by their fruit and lists the fruit to expect.  In this passage, one can see the black and white contrast between the one full of God’s Spirit and those not.  The violence in contrast to the forgiving peacefulness.   Stephen used strong words to showcase the sin history of mankind and their continual rejection of the Creator.  When seen in this light, humanity looks so foolish and out of control, like a two year-old with a temper tantrum.  Seeing this clearly should only serve to further strengthen our resolve to serve the Lord our God and Him only.  Stephen died a violent death, but he died peacefully in forgiveness. “…“Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” The others walked away with their sin and violence, unchanged and in turmoil. In this we see Jesus, we see one full of His spirit asking forgiveness for those who react so violently. From this picture we can be sure we will face the same reactions from those who find themselves exposed to or convicted by the Word of God we share. However, we can be sure that in that place that we too can find the presence of God greater and be found full of His peace and forgiveness.

Walk away…

Luke 9:51-56

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.  And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him.  But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”  But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.

Human nature wants to retaliate.  Jesus demonstrated a different nature.  He walked away.  Were they being threatened?  No  Was anyone being harmed in any way?  No.  Was their pride receiving offense?  Yes.  Jesus did not take offense.  He walked away.

 How do we react to attacks?  Do we also want to call down fire from heaven?  Jesus walked away; went to another village.  When confronted, can we also  just walk away?  Jesus rebuked James and John for their reaction to the rejection from the village.  Reacting in this manner is the human nature rising again.  Who is in control?  When we react in this manner with like actions are we not giving control to the offender?  Walk away; they have made their choice.  It is not a reflection on us.