The Danger of a Rebellious Heart

Parashat Korach
Bamidbar (Numbers) 16:1-18:32
Haftarah: Isaiah 66:1-24
Shabbat Rosh Chodesh

This week we have a special reading from Isaiah to mark the beginning of the Hebrew month, Tammuz. As I was reading the scripture portions from the Parashah and Haftarah, I thought how easily we forget that God is in control. Some challenging questions came to mind, such as do I accept God’s elect? Am I ok with the destiny, gifts, and responsibilities He has given me? Do I trust Him and His plan?

In the Parashah, we read of Korah, who was the great grandson of Levi (and cousin of Moses and Aaron), and led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. As a descendant of Levi, Korah was part of the tribe chosen by God to perform the holy work in the Mishkan (Tabernacle – God’s dwelling place). He, along with 250 other influential men from within the tribes of Israel, questioned the authority and position of Moses and Aaron.

I believe that pride, greed, and jealousy were the main causes of this rebellion. I also believe that, in questioning the authority and position of Moses and Aaron, Korah and his crew were questioning God’s authority; they questioned His right to put those whom He chose in the specific tasks that He desired. Basically, no one was satisfied with the roles that God had chosen! Moses recognized this rebellious spirit within the Levis and challenged it when he said Numbers 16:9:

…is it not enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them;

My dear brothers and sisters, when we allow pride, greed, and jealousy to enter our hearts, it will inevitably lead to a rebellious heart. It will bring us to rebel against God’s elect, His will and purpose, and bascially, against God Himself. What results is sin and sin equals death, which is what happens to Korah and his clan (see Numbers 16:31-35).

As I write this, I cannot help but think of the many people who identify as followers of the Messiah, but whohave allowed pride and arrogance to blind them to God’s plan regarding His chosen people, Israel. They sadly ignore Rav Shaul’s (Apostle Paul) warning from Romans 11:18 to not be arrogant toward the branches, remembering that it is not they who support the root, but the root supports them. I believe the same God whojudged Korach and the others that rebelled against Moses and AaronGod’s electis the same God that we serve today. Therefore, we should be careful how we treat the Jewish people, especially as the world reveals its hatred of Israel more and more.

In Isaiah, we read:

“Heaven is My throne and the earth is the footstool for My feet. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, so all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. But I will look to this one, at one who is humble and contrite in spirit, and who trembles on My word.”
Isaiah 66:1-2

I believe that the words from Isaiah “But I will look to this one, at one who is humble and contrite in spirit, and who trembles on My word” are vital for us to understand. A humble posture towards God and His word allows it to enter our beings and shape us. The Word must be central in the life of the believer. God’s Word, His precepts, and His boundaries exist for us to walk in His ways. They are to guide us to live holy lives in all that we think, say, and do.

In closing, I want to remind us that for each of us, Jew or Gentile, male or female, rich or poor,  there is a call, a role which God has given us. Let us humbly accept that we have different God-given responsibilities, while being thankful to the Father for sending His Son to die on our behlaf  to reconcile us to Him. Please don’t ignore God and His Word!

“For just as the new heavens and the new earth, which I make, will endure before Me,” declares the LORD, “So will your descendants and your name endure. And it shall be from new moon to new moonand from Sabbath to Sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the LORD. “Then they will go out and look at the corpses of the people who have rebelled against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be extinguished; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.”
Isaiah 66:22-24

Shabbat Shalom,

Check out previous blogs on this parashah!

Did you know? — Lone Soldier

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