Bamidbar (Numbers) 16:1-18:32
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 11:14-12:22
In this week’s Parashah, we read of Korach, who was the great grandson of Levi (and cousin of Moses and Aaron). As a descendant of Levi, Korach was part of the tribe chosen by God to perform the holy work in the Mishkan (Tabernacle – God’s dwelling place). I believe that his role to be set apart and do the work of the LORD was a great honor; yet it wasn’t enough for Korach and 250 other influential men from within the tribes of Israel. They questioned the authority and position of Moses and Aaron, which led them into rebellion.
I find it interesting that the leaders (Korach and the other influential men) rejected and rebelled against God’s elect. Is it possible that selfishness, pride, greed, and jealousy were the root causes of this rebellion? Is it also possible that in questioning the authority and position of Moses and Aaron, Korach and his crew were questioning God’s authority? In effect, they questioned His right to predestine those whom He chose for the specific tasks that He desired.
In the Haftarah, we read of yet another rejection of God’s plan. This time, Israel rejected God’s call for them to be set apart as His holy people because they longed for something more. They wanted to be like the other peoples, and they wanted a king. They demanded a king from Samuel, and God gave them Saul as their king - and as a form of judgment:
So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal. There they also offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
1 Samuel 11:15
When we consider the many times Israel rejected God’s plan, we should not be surprised that Israel also rejected Yeshua as their King. Yeshua was the ultimate presence of God among His people, the Word that became flesh, the crowning jewel in the Father’s perfect plan of salvation for His people. Yet, Israel could not receive Him as God presented Him, much like they could not receive God as their king in 1 Samuel. It is not my intention to blame Israel, or feed into anti-Semitism that many Christians have demonstrated over the millennia. I simply want to shed light on one of the reasons that the Jewish people did not receive Yeshua as their Messiah.
I find it ironic the game of words which is found in John 19:12-15:
As a result of this, Pilate made efforts to release Him; but the Jews shouted, saying, “If you release this Man, you are not a friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar!”Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought [Yeshua] out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement—but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Look, your King!” So they shouted, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king except Caesar.”
The irony that the Jewish people rejected God’s elected one as king and replied that Caesar was their king, is fascinating to me. Israel wanted a king – they had their ultimate king in Messiah Yeshua that God provided them. Yet, they rejected God’s best and instead wanted a counterfeit version of a king!
Think about a time when you traded God’s best in your life for a counterfeit version. How did that situation turn out? Yet, as we see God’s grace demonstrated through Israel, we can also see His grace in our lives. Rejecting His best may carry some unpleasant results, but He is always there to turn it around if we allow Him.
I personally am so grateful that Israel’s rejection of God’s best does not mean that God has rejected His people! Quite the contrary; God is forever merciful and gracious. As Rav Sha’ul (Apostle Paul) wrote, if Israel’s rejection of Messiah means reconciliation for the world, then their acceptance will be life from the dead! (Romans 11:15)
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