In Numbers 16:11 Moses says something surprising to Korah, “It is against the Lord that you and your followers have banded together.” This chapter is much more than a lesson about unity in the church, loving each other, working together as a team, or being faithful in your God-given assignment.
Korah’s rebellion was against God. God had given crystal clear instructions for every detail of the tabernacle, from its construction, the sacrifices, even to assignments and particular duties. In other words, God set the terms for worship and relationship. There were no grey areas. God was saying, “I love you. I want to live in relationship with you. So we’re all on the same page, this is how you are to worship me.”
As a Levite, Korah knew all this. He saw the glory of God fill the tabernacle when it was first set up. But as pride took hold, he thought he could create a better way, his way. He was rejecting God’s revelation. He would worship God on his terms, but with himself at the head.
This would forever go down in the church’s memory as Korah’s rebellion. We find reference to it in the New Testament book of Jude in verse 11, “Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” The early church was facing a similar spiritual revolt. Certain false teachers had slipped in among the church and were sowing seeds of confusion and discord by proclaiming a message of their own making. Their message had two parts. It twisted and distorted the grace of God into a license to sin. In other words, let it all hang out, obey your thirst, satisfy your desires, because God’s grace has you covered. Second, they denied that Jesus Christ was Lord. He was a good teacher, a moral example, a social leader, but not God in flesh, not the way the truth and the life. So with a sense of urgency, Jude writes in verse 1, “I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”
Korah’s rebellion still happens in our day when we move the ancient boundaries to justify the way we want to live. It happens when we reject God’s plan for worship and relationship revealed in his word for something of our own making. It happens when we take Jesus from his rightful place and put him beside Buddha, Mohammed, or Gandhi. When we smooth the edges of our faith to not irritate us or offend the culture, we place ourselves in the role of divine high priest. Each time we attempt to create our way to heaven, like Korah, we rebel against God.
I think if we’re all honest, there’s a little Korah in all of us. We all want to tweak and tune God’s truth to give us room to do what we want. While our man-made religious systems have a form of godliness, they have no power to satisfy or save. Here’s a sobering thought. We can sit in church, sing the songs, and give in the offering, but have a rebellion going on inside our hearts.
Have you seen the At&t commercials about the OK surgeon, tattoo artist, baby sitter, mechanic, or OK sushi? Each one is hilarious because we would never do that. OK is not OK. Why would we build our lives on a belief system of our design, a foundation far from even OK?
Search your heart today, and see if there is a spirit of rebellion in any area. Why not submit again to God’s good and perfect will. Here’s the reality. He’s either Lord of all, or not Lord at all. Instead of picking and choosing what you want, allow God to pick and choose what he wants. Instead of his Word being beneath you, put it above your life, and give it the highest place of authority. Your life will be blessed and your joy complete.