Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Little Too Far

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition

            According to this verse, everything that happened to the Israelites in the wilderness served as examples for us. We can learn about our Christian walk by studying what they did in the desert. If that’s the case, what do you think we can learn from Numbers 16?

            I’ll abbreviate the story here, but it might be good to read that chapter for yourself! When God made Aaron and his family priests, He also assigned the Levite tribe as their helpers. Basically, they were the helps ministry in the tabernacle. Everything that the priests needed done, the Levites would to it for them.

            In Numbers 16, a Levite named Korah got a little too ambitious. He and his three friends gathered 250 leaders of Israel together and went to Moses and Aaron. This was their complaint, 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?”

            They were after the priesthood that God gave Aaron.

            Moses responded, “Tomorrow, God will show who He set in that position!” Then he said, “Korah, isn’t it enough that God chose you to serve in His house? Isn’t it enough that you’re responsible for the care of the Tabernacle? And now you’re demanding the priesthood too? Who is Aaron that you’re complaining against him? God put him there! You’re the one who has gone too far!”

            The next morning was the test. Moses told every one of the 250 leaders to fill their pans of incense to burn before God – something that God told the priests to do. They wanted the priesthood, so they were going to find out if God would accept their ministry. Aaron also filled his incense pan to burn before God. Moses called everyone to come and see who God would choose, but Korah’s friends refused to come. They even complained that Moses ordered them to come – accusing him of trying to be their king!

            It didn’t take long for God to make His point. The ground opened up under Korah’s friends and swallowed them up! At that very moment, fire erupted in the incense pans of Korah and the other leaders, and burnt them to a crisp! Only Aaron was left standing there! God’s decision was clear; Aaron was the man He chose.

            So if this is an example for us, what can we learn?

            Korah and his following thought that Moses and Aaron set themselves in their positions. They failed to see why Aaron was the only person that got to be priest. Their complaint was, “Everyone here has been set apart by God, what right do you have to take charge over us?” They didn’t realize that God chose Moses and Aaron to stand between Him and them.
            Sound familiar? This happens in churches all over the country. People are unhappy with the man that God placed in authority and with the decisions he makes. Sometimes they’re angry about nothing more than the way he preaches! They rise up against him, claiming that they have just as much right to run the church. In the words of Moses, they go too far! God’s response to them is clear, even in the New Testament!

            Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. – Not everyone is called to these positions! The responsibility of the ones called to be leaders is found in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, encourage, with all longsuffering and teaching.” They are responsible to teach us, to rebuke us and to encourage us. Most church-goers are lost when you get to rebuke – but correcting sin is part of a spiritual leader’s responsibility!

            God will be the One to judge them based on their responsibilities – that’s not our job! Our responsibility to them is found in Hebrews 13:7 “Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.”
Again in 13:17, “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say.” That is our responsibility. It’s not our job to oversee them; their job is to oversee us!

Theirs is the bigger responsibility by far, and God holds them accountable to it! The rest of Hebrews 13:17 is, “for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” They are going to give an account to God for us. Wouldn’t you like that account to be joyful? How would you feel if their account is only about the grief you caused? That would definitely be “unprofitable for you!”

So help your pastors! Don’t be like Korah and complain about what your pastor is doing! Don’t be like the 250 and join in with complainers. Follow your pastor’s example and do what you can to help him! Ephesians 4:8 tells us that these men are gifts to us! Let’s treat them right!

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