Numbers 16:3-4 “And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:”
Man is an amazing creature. There is no other being known to man any more interesting in its operation and creation than a human being. Our origins were simple.
Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
We were made from the dust of the earth and it is dust to which we will return.
Genesis 3:19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Time nor space does not permit me to expound on all the wonders of the human body. Its restorative power, our immune system, the micro to the macro; all of what made us to be is utterly and totally amazing. But today, it is one element that struck me as I read today’s scripture: I am amazed at how each of us deals with God-ordained authority in our life.
In this passage in Numbers, Korah, a famous man; a man of renown in the tribe of Levi, along with others that felt the same offense as he or had been persuaded; rose up and defied the men placed in position to lead the Israelite people out of the wilderness.
Think with me as to how this may have started…
Maybe Moses made a decision that made these men question: “Who does Moses think he is talking to US that way? Doesn’t he know we are famous men; princes of the tribe of Levi? Why would he not have consulted us before making such a decision?…” And so it begins.
The way of the scorner begins with the question of one critic. It’s roots began way back in the garden:
Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
Genesis 3:4-5 “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Satan always begins by questioning the authority of the one placed in position to do so. It began in his own heart as he guarded the throne of Almighty God. His pride saw himself on the throne. He saw himself being worshipped. He saw himself being lifted up. Authority was diminished in his eyes while he was elevated.
Isaiah 14:12-14 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Known as the five “I Wills” of Satan, he dared place himself in the seat of the very One who created him. This root of pride should be nothing new to us. But you see, that’s just it. The deceitfulness; the insidiousness of pride blinds its victim from seeing the destruction and damage; the haughtiness and arrogance. Pride takes those in its clutches and seeks to justify their position.
Often, one is wounded by what is said or done. They take it personal. Once that wound is taken up, it plants roots that begin to seek justification. “They hate me. They don’t respect me. They do not understand all that I have gone through.” Far too often, if we would truly seek just who is doing the talking, we would find that sulphurous breath of the wicked one is behind those subtle suggestions to take offense.
God ordained authority has been attacked since the beginning. Because the one placed there is human, there will be mistakes made. There will be things said that will offend. There will be situations of neglect; outright favoritism, nepotism, wrongful criticism, and whole bunch of other ‘isms’ that we can lump together to make our case against the human being placed in that position of authority.
If a man – or a woman – has been placed in that position of God-ordained authority, how you and I handle the offense when it comes becomes paramount to our spirit; and ultimately to all those who watch how we handle the adversity when it comes to our doorstep.
Many a church has split over such foolish things as the choice of the color to paint the walls; type of carpet or other such insignificant choices. But it has also been that the man of God has chosen a path of his own to the hurt of one or many. A justifiable hurt. A significant hurt or offense that may even be worthy of addressing. The Bible has what to do and how to handle such situations which I wish not to go into in this devotion.
Much more personal is how you and I handle the opportunity; the situation; the circumstance; when it is place squarely in front of us. What do we do when it is us who are offended? When it is us who was neglected? How do we go about rectifying and making right the situation when we have to confront the very one who we feel started this whole mess?
Often, because emotions run high in these situations and circumstances, we fail to act – we react. It has been said:
“Hurt people hurt people.”
When I am hurt, I want others to know that I am hurt. If they fail to recognize it or gloss over, or totally ignore me, then, I may choose to unleash my hurt on them. Can I say here, that every time I have chosen to lash out – it never ended well. Even if the other person recognizes and seeks reconciliation, the wound that I opened in them was unjustified and could have been avoided.
Then, you add the element of authority and the battle now becomes escalated. Satan wants you and I to question our authority – just like he did. He wants our offense to form a wedge between us and the person in the position God placed them.
I truly have no right to complain about what my authority has done or said if I haven’t done what I have been commanded, by God to do.
1 Timothy 2:1-3 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;”
The first person on my prayer list should be the leader of my nation. For those here in America, the President of the United States. You may say, “I don’t agree with him.” Or, “He is not in my party.” While all of those things may be true, the responsibility to the command of God is to pray for them. Pray for their salvation, first and foremost. Pray that they make wise decisions to govern the people rightly. I think you get the picture.
Because once you begin to pray in earnest for those in authority, God changes your heart before he begins to change theirs. All too soon as you continue in prayer, you will see your perspective change. God begins to open our eyes to the challenges those in authority face.
We begin to see the difficulties; the wisdom needed and the responsibility placed squarely on the shoulders of those in that position. If you have any hear at all, you will begin to see that our hurt can be healed if you and I allow forgiveness to be our guide.
Our enemy uses the hurts inflicted by those in authority to tear down the structure God has given for us to operate within. He said:
Romans 12:18 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
So, it is in the interest of following scripture that we would seek first to find forgiveness. Then, to restore the relationship between me and the one in authority. Know this, that God takes very serious the attitude with which we approach our authority. He dealt so severely with Korah, Dathan and Abiram because of the positions they held and just who it was they were attacking.
They rose up against God – not Moses. Thought they may have thought in their heart that they were worthy like Moses was worthy. They may have thought that they could have made better decisions than Moses could have made. Beware… “If I were them…” is like saying, “If I were God…”
The earth opened and swallowed them whole in response to their rebellion. They, and all their women and children went straight to the pit – to hell. Guilt by association. Beware, my friend, of those who come to criticise the man of God to you. If not dealt with harshly or severely, they will think you sympathetic to their cause and if you do not stand, others will think the same.
I have had to learn some very hard lessons when dealing with God ordained authority in my life. God is well and fully capable of handling His own. I must do my part to pray for those in those positions. Pray earnestly. Pray fervently. Pray regularly. Only then will you and I begin to see more clearly, just what it is that God would have us to do.