The Root of Rebellion

Now Korah...took men: and they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: 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? (Numbers 16:1-3)

Korah was a Levite of great authority. Associated with him were 250 of the princes of the assembly who were also men of authority. This rebellion was no small affair. These are men of ability and, as always, they appeal to the mob by making charges. Now, actually, the charges made in this rebellion were not true to the facts. They were absolutely unfounded. Moses was not taking too much upon himself. If we go back in his history, we find that when God called him, he refused. He didn't feel capable of leading these people. Even after God had trained him in the wilderness, he didn't want the job. He asked for a helper, and God gave him Aaron. Moses was the meekest man on earth. When Joshua wanted to silence the prophets, Moses said that he wished all of God's people might prophesy. He didn't have a jealous bone in his body. My friend, we have seen that Moses was not sinless, but he certainly was not guilty of taking too much upon himself.

What was really the root trouble here? It was the jealousy of Korah. This matter of jealousy is an awful thing. All authority is God-given. No man takes this honor upon himself. God had given the places in the camp, and He had given the Levites their specific jobs to do. Korah was a Kohathite, and their position and service were God-appointed. Moses had his position and duties.

This is so important for us to see today. My experience is that a great deal of the problem in churches today and a great deal of rebellion among the people in the churches can be found rooted in one thing — jealousy! This is why the Bible enjoins us to walk in meekness and in lowliness of mind. We are to walk in humility. We are to recognize that all authority is God-given.

If you are a Christian, you have been given a gift, and you are to use that gift as you function in the body of believers. Your business is not to try to get someone else's office or job. We have too much insane vanity among Christians wanting to be chairman of a board or to do something publicly. My friend, most of the members of the body are not seen. We cover them or they are inside the body. Yet their function is essential to the body. It is just so in the church!

Jealousy motivates a great many people who are troublemakers in our churches. That is hurting the church today. God is going to deal with this rebellion in a definite way. I tell you, the judgment of these men is going to be serious.

—From Edited Messages on Numbers by J. Vernon McGee