While considering the text for today, 2 things stirred my imagination –
- That this group of men, who at one time had been found faithful, were now in fact opposes of true worship despite the fact that they didn’t see it that way. This is a scary thought.
- Fire came out from Jehovah and consumed them. While an obvious miracle, what exactly happened? They were told to assemble before Jehovah so evidently there was a place which represented the presence of the Most High. (This aspect isn’t as fascinating to me as the previous point).
Point 1 – At the start of Numbers 16 the names of certain man are mentioned, and these men are described as being Chieftains, prominent men. Today we would perhaps view them as elders or older men, the type that would have oversight over others and expected to take the lead. Granted, this was at the very beginning of the establishing of the nation of Israel as Gods people and many of the arrangements we have come to learn about and understand weren’t actually in place yet, but the point is that these men had been respectable and honored men among the people.
I do wonder though to what degree were their actions a direct result of their cultural background. They had been born and grew up in Egypt, and had resided as a slaves there for 400 years, so all they knew, all they could relate to was from that place. The truth is they were all ‘brothers’ related to one another after Joseph had his father and brothers relocate to Egypt during the famine. Yet Jehovah was now changing everything, and among the things that He was establishing, for the first time ever, was the priesthood arrangement. Jehovah had appointed Moses as the official ‘leader’ and spokesman, representing both the nation and Jehovah. Now He was appointing those who would take the lead in worship and sacred service. Yet this specific group of men, listed there in the book of Numbers, were offended because they mistakenly believed that they were being overlooked, and felt slighted, insulted. They were in a hurry to take offense. What’s interesting is that this group of men were actually guilty of doing what they were accusing Moses and Aaron of doing, pushing ahead with what they wanted to do. And this despite having the presence of Jehovah in their midst. Convinced that they were in the right they did the unthinkable, thoroughly convinced that they would be vindicated…or were they simply ignoring the fact that Jehovah was watching? Was Jehovah not REAL to them? Why weren’t they afraid to bully their way past Moses? Had they been influenced by what they had experienced in Egypt?
Clearly these men were viewing matters from a human, fleshy perspective. Their motives weren’t as pure as they would have had others believe. They didn’t like the thought of submissively adhering to the directions of this Moses and his older brother, and it is easy to see things from their stand point. Quite likely these men had been the key decision makers back in Egypt. And, while it would have been understandably easy to stand by and watch from the sidelines as Moses delivered the nation from bondage in Egypt, now that they were delivered why did they need Moses anymore, they no doubt reasoned. (NOTE: If Moses had failed, their lack of being tied to Moses would have prevented Pharaoh from holding them responsible as conspirators with Moses). In their minds they saw things returning to what they knew in Egypt, where they were the chieftains and prominent men.
Today we all live in this system that is quite similar to Egypt. At the same time there are ones within Jehovah’s earthly organization that God is clearly using to lead His people out from this system to a promised new world, among them the Governing Body. Yet there have been individuals and groups of people who have accused those taking the lead of being out of touch, being sheltered from the real world and having no idea what it’s like to live ‘as everybody else does’, in a world where people have mortgages and bills and employers, etc… What they fail to recognize is that the very things that are listed as aspects of the real world are in reality products of this system, which has been specifically designed to be distracting and undermine ones faith, the designer: the ruler of the world, Satan. For the record, members of the Governing Body, as well as others who have been appointed to take the lead, do deal with the same challenges we all face as imperfect humans living in this system – sickness and old age, managing expenses with income, anxieties of life and so on. While they don’t perhaps work for an earthly employer, this is their choice, and at any time events can change that can cause them to sacrifice their sacred service, such as a pregnancy or marriage, serious illness, etc…The reality is that ones who are critical of those who are taking the lead are in fact viewing matters from a human, fleshly perspective and not from Jehovah’s vantage point, which brings up another point – Jehovah’s vantage point.
Unlike anything in the physical world, Jehovah’s vantage point can be viewed from any locale, even while in solitary confinement, because it takes place within the mind and not with any physical eyes. Binoculars or telescopes aren’t needed. What is needed is a measure of scriptural understanding and a proper motive. Armed with these two things, anyone can look at anything from Jehovah’s vantage point. Granted, the view may not be as clear now as will be later, and it may vary slightly from person to person depending on their level of spiritual maturity. But regardless of these very minor differences, what they see is vastly different than what people see when they look at the same thing thru fleshly eyes. An example of this is Abraham who, with eyes of faith, saw the promise of his seed, which hadn’t even been born yet, becoming a huge nation and blessings of his seed extending to the entire earth for all mankind. While Abraham didn’t really understand what he was ‘looking’ at, it was as real to him as standing on the edge of a precipice and looking down and knowing what will happen if ones takes a single step forward. In both cases the evidence is clear.
Point 2 – Fire came out from Jehovah and consumed them.
While this was an obvious miracle, what exactly happened? They were told to assemble before Jehovah, so evidently there was a place everyone was aware of that represented the presence of the Most High, and it was at that place Moses and Arron and the older men were to gather.
This is worth researching.