“But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the tent of meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the Lord appeared. Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting, and the Lord said to Moses, ‘Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.’ And they fell facedown.” -Numbers 16:42-45(NLT)
Let’s begin with this: There is absolutely nothing wrong with being ambitious. The problem is in the motive and intention of that ambition especially when mixed with greed.
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram had seen for themselves the benefits of the Egyptian priesthood -Wealth, position, leadership, prestige, influence in politics, and the like.
Rather than understanding that God Himself chose the Levites, they decided to go against Moses as shown in the account in Numbers 16:1-3(NLT), “One day Korah son of Izhar, a descendant of Kohath son of Levi, conspired with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, from the tribe of Reuben. They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly. They united against Moses and Aaron and said, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the Lord, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?'”
Korah and his followers felt they should be upheld like the Levites. They wanted the power. They were greedy and wanted to appoint themselves. Moses had done nothing wrong. The Levites had done nothing wrong. Moses and the Levites were doing the task God had called them to do. They were doing what God had anointed them to do. The Levites were responsible for the spiritual leadership and the teaching of God’s laws. It wasn’t that the Levites and Moses were held above everyone else. They simply were set apart from the rest of the people and were consecrated to God for His service. God raised them up to positions of leadership for the great nation of Israel. Korah and his followers did not recognize that. What they saw was what was in it for them. They wanted what the Levites had. They wanted the position Moses had. They were greedy and failed to realize that God is the One who appoints people to leadership. Korah and his followers’ greedy ambition was not godly; it was downright evil.
Moses’ ambition was to do what God wanted. Moses’ ambition was to serve God. Moses did not have the ambition to control people or lord his leadership over others. Moses simply was a servant of God, that God called out in order to lead the children of Israel. He was devoted to God. Moses’ ambition was a good ambition.
There is no room for greed when you are aservant of the Most High God.
In this passage (Numbers 16:8-11NLT), Korah’s motives are exposed, “Then Moses spoke again to Korah: ‘Now listen, you Levites! Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the Lord’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them? Korah, he has already given this special ministry to you and your fellow Levites. Are you now demanding the priesthood as well? The Lord is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him?'”
God doesn’t play games, and His desire is that the Body of Christ understand that all parts are necessary. We are called to use our gifts and talents. God has anointed each of us for a particular position or place within the body. It’s not about us. It’s about God and where He has put us at this place in time. We are not to be like Korah and his followers, trying to overthrow others out of their position because we are greedy for power or envy another’s position as leaders. Leadership is ultimately about servanthood. Each of God’s children are servants of the Most High God, and we are to conduct ourselves in accordance with the Word of God.
What are your motives for desiring a position of leadership? THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE YOU ARE MODELING FOR WHETHER YOU KNOW IT OR NOT. That point cannot be emphasized enough. What example are you setting for others around you? You do not have to have the position of pastor or teacher, parent, or some other authoritative position. There is someone always watching what you say and how you conduct yourself. This is why it is so important to make sure we are right with God so that those we model for do not stumble because of us. We must be living what we preach and teach. We cannot live our lives in a state of rebellion.
Don’t be like Korah and those who followed his example of rebellion. It didn’t end well for Korah and his followers as recorded in Numbers 16:28-35(NLT), “And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the Lord.’ He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel. All the people around them fled when they heard their screams. ‘The earth will swallow us, too!’ they cried. Then fire blazed forth from the Lord and burned up the 250 men who were offering incense.”
The line has been drawn in the sand. Will you choose to serve God or will you choose to live in opposition to God? Might I suggest you choose to serve God and to do so wholeheartedly? Complacency and indifference toward God is not acceptable nor pleasing in the sight of God.
Live your life to influence others for God.
Don’t let the world influence you.
For those who choose to serve God and continue to live for Him, they will live a life of blessing and enjoy true joy and peace that comes from God alone.
Rebellion will only cause you problems, and rebellion will only bring about the consequences of sin which is destruction. Remember it is not a title or position that elevates you. When you walk in a spirit of humility before God, God is the One Who will lift you up. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time,” (1 Peter 5:6).
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, there is no one like You for You are the Eternal God who reigns in majesty. My desire is to please You in all that I do and say so that I might be able to influence others for You. Help me to always remember that there is nothing worth losing my soul for, and help me to stand firm that I don’t let the world influence me. May I constantly be reminded that You require me to walk humbly before You, to love mercy, and to act justly because that is good. Father, let me be a beacon of light for You in this dark world. Teach me Your ways so I might not rebel like Korah and his followers, and let me be able to lead others to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles