The Parashah for this week 10-16 June 2018 is called Korach—“Korah”
This week’s Portion focuses on the rebellion of Korah.
*Numbers 16:3; 16:7b: KORACH AND FOLLOWERS TO MOSES: “You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” MOSES: “Take censers, Korah and all your company; put fire in them and put incense in them before the LORD tomorrow, and it shall be that the man whom the LORD chooses is the holy one. You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi.”
Perhaps we see here one reason for the severity with which the LORD dealt with Miriam and Aaron in Chapter 12. If those in the office of Prophet and Priest are discontent with their “place” in relation to the positions of others whom the LORD has chosen and appointed, will not their behavior be seen as license by their followers to do likewise? Moses had not appointed himself as leader over Israel, God had. Ironically, Korah was speaking a truth when he claimed that “all the congregation is holy, every one of them”. The congregation as a whole was holy (i.e. “set apart”) from other nations. And within that congregation, tribes and families and individuals were also “set apart”. Being set apart implies boundaries both from without and from within which must be respected by those whose “setting apart” is to other purposes and responsibilities.
PLEASE PRAY: for unity among believers in Israel—for humility, respect and honour towards the gifts and callings of each. For realization that it is the Holy Spirit who makes these distinctions; it is ‘taking too much upon ourselves’ when we criticize or envy them.
PRAY ALSO, that within Israeli congregations godly discipline be exercised in the love and fear of the LORD. It may be helpful to read the Book of Jude in this respect (especially verses 8-11), which prophecies how rejection of authority and “peaking evil of dignitaries—“the rebellion of Korah”—will resurface in latter days. Verses 20-22 address how it must be responded to when it occurs
*Numbers 16:22. “Then they fell on their faces, and said, ‘O God, the God of the Spirits of All Flesh, shall one man sin, and You be angry with all the congregation?’”
As noted in past readings, throughout the Torah names for God surface whose elements reveal new perspectives on His attributes. This name—“God of the Spirits of all Flesh” will appear again in Numbers 27:15-16, “Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying: ‘Let YHVH, the God of the Spirits of All Flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of YHVH may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.’” This man was, of course, Joshua—“a man in whom is the Spirit…” (vs 18).
*Numbers 16:30. “But if the LORD creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have rejected YHVH.”
Better renderings of the Hebrew word here rendered ‘rejected’ would be “spurned”, “abused”, “treated with contempt”, “blasphemed.”
*Numbers 16:48: “Then Aaron took the censer as Moses had commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.”
In the midst of a rebellious people, the LORD is searching for those who will “stand in the gap” on their behalf and on behalf of His land (“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found no one. Therefore, I have poured out My indignation on them…” –Ezekiel 22:30).
PLEASE PRAY: For sensitivity and readiness on behalf of God’s Intercessors—willingness, surrender and resolve to share His burden, so as to be released at just the right time to “stand between the dead and the living” (and with discernment to differentiate between the two)—to “make a wall” and stand in the gap so that plague will be stopped.
*Numbers 17:10. “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die.’”
“Rebels” is literally b’nei-meri—“sons (or children) of bitterness”. Lest we be too quick to distance ourselves from those who fell in Korah’s rebellion and the mutinous disruptions which followed, we should note that in the Hebrew translation of Ephesians 2:1-3, exactly the same words b’nei-meri are used to translate “sons of disobedience”—“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God…” (Emphasis ours).
*I Samuel 12:21-22: “You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which cannot profit or deliver, because they are futile. For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself” (NASB).
The word “futile” (or “emptiness”) is Hebrew tohu, the same word used of the state of the earth (Genesis 1:2) before Elohim began breathing His Life into it (Psalm 33:6).
PLEASE PRAY: For Israeli believers and those who intercede for her, that our faith would not be distracted into reasonings which are emptiness or void—but rather that we would base our hope and prayers on God’s faithfulness to honour His Name. That we would be encouraged in the knowledge that it is “His pleasure” to make Israel a “people for Himself.”
Martin & Norma Sarvis
[The Parasha for the week 17-23 June 2018 is called Chukat—“Ordinance Of…” TORAH: Numbers 19:1—22:1; HAFTARAH: Judges 11:1-33]