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Thursday January 17 – Jealousy is the root of rebellion

Therefore it is against the LORD that you and all your company have gathered together. – Numbers 16:11

Scripture reading: Numbers 16:1-35

Again the people rebel. As Psalm 106:16 shows, it is fuelled by jealousy. There are actually two movements that find each other in a common goal: to get rid of Moses and Aaron. The first group is Korah and his followers. They resent that Aaron alone can be the high priest. They feel that they should be able to take that position as well. Their reasoning: all in the congregation are holy. The other group is led by Dathan and Abiram, who are from the tribe of Reuben. They oppose Moses as leader. Isn’t Reuben the oldest son of Jacob?

Moses recognizes that two groups are involved. He tries to reason with Korah and his followers. Consider how privileged you are already as priests. Why are you not satisfied with what you have? When it comes to Dathan and Abiram, Moses summons them, but they refuse to recognize his authority.

Moses then refers the judgement to the LORD. Korah and his followers have to appear before the LORD in the tabernacle. As they do, fire comes down and consumes them. With regard to Dathan and Abiram, Moses orders the people to withdraw from them. The earth opens up and swallows them alive. The LORD confirms that Moses and Aaron are appointed by Him.

Let’s not think that we are immune to jealousy. The Spirit warns us not to follow Korah (Jude 11) and perish as he did. Instead, the Lord calls us to obey our leaders and submit to them (Heb 13:17).

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord for the leaders He gives. Ask for His grace to obey and submit to them. Pray for those who are charged with oversight over our lives.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Douwe G. J. Agema is currently minister of Living Word Canadian Reformed Church in Guelph and also teaches several courses at Covenant Canadian Reformed Teachers’ College.


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