Biblical Principle #171: God Knows Those Who are His

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God knows those who are His, and He brings them to Himself.


After GOD sentenced Israel to 40 years of wandering, certain leaders among the Levites began to feel that Moses and Aaron were improperly and selfishly elevating themselves above the rest of Israel. Chief among these people was a man named Korah. These people took their accusation to Moses:

1 Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, spoke; 2 and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred fifty men of the children of Israel, rulers of the congregation, chosen members of the council and men of note. 3 They gathered together against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “Let it be understood by you that all the congregation are holy ones, and the Lord is in them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?”

Numbers 16:1-3 OSB

Moses was greatly disturbed by this, yet another challenge to his GOD-given role as Israel’s leader.

4 So when Moses heard this, he fell on his face; 5 and he spoke to Korah and all his company, saying, “God examines and knows those who are His and who are His holy ones, and He brings them to Himself; and those He chooses for Himself He brings to Himself. 6 Do this: Take censers, Korah and all his company; 7 put fire and incense in them before the Lord tomorrow, and it shall be that the man the Lord chooses, this is the holy one; and let this be sufficient for you, O sons of Levi.”

8 Then Moses said to Korah, “Hear me, you sons of Levi: 9 Is this a small thing to you, that the God of Israel separated you from the congregation of Israel to bring you near to Himself, to serve the liturgies of the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the congregation to serve them; 10 and that He brought you near, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi with you? Are you seeking the priesthood also? 11 Thus you and all your company brought together are against God. Furthermore, who is Aaron, that you murmur against him?” 12 Then Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not come up. 13 Is this a small thing, that you brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert, and set yourself over us as a ruler? 14 Even if you should bring us into a land flowing with milk and honey, and give us an inheritance of field and vineyards, you would put out the eyes of these men. We will not come up.” 

Numbers 16:4-14 OSB

Recognizing there was no reconciliation to be had, Moses prayed and proposed a test for GOD to show who had His approval:

15 Then Moses was very heavy of spirit and said to the Lord, “May You pay no attention to their sacrifice. I have not taken a desirable object from any of them, nor have I harmed any of them.” 16 Then Moses said to Korah, “Sanctify your company and be ready tomorrow before the Lord, you and they, as well as Aaron. 17 Let each take his censer, put incense in it, and bring his censer before the Lord, two hundred fifty censers; both you and Aaron, each with his censer.” 18 So every man took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and stood at the doors of the tabernacle of testimony with Moses and Aaron. 19 Thus Korah gathered all his company against them at the door of the tabernacle of testimony. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation.

20 The Lord then spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, and I will utterly destroy them at once.” 22 Then they fell on their faces, and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, if one man sinned, will the Lord’s anger be on all the congregation?” 23 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Withdraw from around Korah’s company.’” 25 Moses then rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel went together with him. 26 Then he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Get away from the tents of these callous men. Touch nothing of theirs, lest you perish together with them in all their sin.” 27 So they got away from around Korah’s tent; and Dathan and Abiram went and stood at the doors of their tents, with their wives, their children, and their little ones. 28 Then Moses said, “By this you shall know the Lord sent me to do all these works, and they are not from myself. 29 If these men should die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common visitation of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But the Lord will show by a sign from heaven that opening its mouth the earth shall swallow them down with their houses, their tents, and everything belonging to them; and they shall go down alive into Hades. Then you shall know these men provoked the Lord.”

31 Now as he finished speaking all these words, the ground split apart under them, 32 and the earth opened and swallowed them down with their houses, and all the men with Korah, and all their tents. 33 So they and all with them went down alive into Hades, and the earth covered them; and they perished from the midst of the congregation. 34 Then all Israel around them fled at their cry, for they were saying, “Lest the earth also swallow us down.” 35 Fire also came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred fifty men offering incense.

Numbers 16:1-35 OSB

GOD had given each of these people the role He wanted them to have within His plan and His people. Moses was called to be the leader, Aaron the high priest. As Levites, the family of Korah had been given responsibilities that were unique and all the Levites had been treated as separated and holy to the LORD.

Yet, for Korah and his followers, this was not enough. It was not acceptable. He wanted more. Perhaps they disapproved of the direction the people were going. After all, they had been sentenced to death in the desert, which was a bleak, hopeless, and pointless future. Perhaps Korah wanted to force something different.

Regardless of his underlying motivations, it did not go well for him. The earth swallowed him and his followers directly into Hades alive.

In the midst of these events, Moses spoke a timeless truth in wisdom:

GOD knows those who are His and He brings them to Himself.

Had it not been for Moses, Korah and his family would have long been destroyed from the land of the living, for Moses had interceded multiple times due to Israel’s sin. The faithless of Israel were not entering Canaan and they weren’t entering GOD’s promised land and eternal rest, either.

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