The Rebellion of Korah

Scripture Passage: 
Numbers 16:1-50

INTRODUCTION: We have read and studied so much about rebellion that it is beginning to get old. Imagine how Moses and Aaron must have felt—much less the Lord. God treats rebellion as the greatest of sins (1 Samuel 15:23). It is a terrible accusation to call a people a rebellious generation (Psalm 78:8). Yet, here they go again. How can we detect rebellion in a person; in a people; in a family; in a church? What steps can we take to avoid being rebellious?

  1. THE CHALLENGE OF THE REBELS (Numbers 16:1-11)
    1. The Rebels Themselves (Numbers 16:1-2)
      1. Korah (Numbers 16:1)
        1. Of the tribe of Levi
        2. A Kohathite which had great privileges
          1. He camped on the south side of the tabernacle (Numbers 3:29).
          2. He got to bear the most holy things, as the Kohathites carried the instruments that reconciled the people with God (Numbers 4:15).
        3. One of the three men who portray a trait of false teachers (Jude 1:11)
          1. The way of Cain
          2. The error of Balaam
          3. The gainsaying of Core (Korah)
      2. Dathan and Abiram
        1. Of the tribe of Reuben
        2. The tribe of the firstborn who lost his birthright (1 Chronicles 5:1-2)
        3. Brothers
      3. On
        1. Of the tribe of Reuben
        2. Son of Peleth
        3. Seems to have backed out of the rebellion (Numbers 16:24-25)
      4. Princes of Israel (Numbers 16:2)
        1. 250 princes of the assembly
        2. Famous in the congregation
        3. Men of renown (Genesis 6:4)
    2. Their Accusation of Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16:3)
      1. Ye take too much upon you.
        1. This was similar to the complaint of Miriam and Aaron (Numbers 12:2).
        2. This was the choice of the Israelites (Exodus 20:18-21).
      2. All the congregation is holy (Exodus 19:3-6).
      3. The Lord is among every one of them.
      4. Why do ye lift yourselves up above them?
    3. Moses Speaks to the Rebels (Numbers 16:4-7).
      1. He fell on his face in prayer (Numbers 16:4).
      2. God will do His own choosing (Numbers 16:5-7a).
      3. The rebels take too much on them (cp. Numbers 16:7b with Numbers 16:3).
    4. Moses Speaks to the Sons of Levi (Numbers 16:8-11).
      1. God has brought you near to Himself (Numbers 16:8-9).
      2. Why do you seek the priesthood also? (Numbers 16:10-11)
  2. THE BATTLE WITH THE REBELS (Numbers 16:12-22)
    1. Dathan and Abiram Refuse Instruction (Numbers 16:12-15).
      1. They refuse to come up (Numbers 16:12).
      2. They accuse Moses (Numbers 16:13-14).
        1. He brought them out of a land of milk and honey (Numbers 16:13).
        2. He has not brought them to the promised land (Numbers 16:14).
        3. We will not submit to your commands (Numbers 16:14).
      3. Moses asks God not to respect their offering (Numbers 16:15).
    2. Moses Instructs the 250 To Bring Censers (Numbers 16:16-19).
      1. Korah and his company take their censers (Numbers 16:16-18).
      2. The glory of the Lord appears (Numbers 16:19).
    3. Moses Intercedes for the Congregation (Numbers 16:20-22).
      1. The Judgment of God (Numbers 16:20-21)
        1. Separate from the congregation.
        2. That I may consume them in a moment
      2. The Pleading of Moses and Aaron  (Numbers 16:22)
        1. Their praise of God – the God of the spirits of all flesh
        2. Their case – shall one man’s sin effect the whole congregation?
  3. SEPARATION FROM THE REBELS (Numbers 16:23-30)
    1. An Escape for the Congregation (Numbers 16:24, 26)
      1. Depart from the tents of these wicked men.
      2. Touch nothing of theirs.
      3. Lest ye be consumed in their sins
    2. The Obedience of the Congregation (Numbers 16:27)
      1. The people got up from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.
      2. Dathan and Abiram come out with their families.
    3. Moses Declares a Coming Judgment (Numbers 16:28-30).
      1. Moses testifies of God’s calling (Numbers 16:28).
      2. Moses prophesies a unique death for the rebels (Numbers 16:29-30).
  4. GOD’S JUDGMENT ON THE REBELS (Numbers 16:31-40)
    1. God Judges the Rebels (Numbers 16:31-35).
      1. The leaders swallowed by the earth (Numbers 16:31-33) - Korah’s children were not in this number (Numbers 26:9-11; Psalm 88).
      2. The fear of the Israelites (Numbers 16:34)
      3. The 250 consumed by fire (Numbers 16:35)
    2. The Censers are Preserved (Numbers 16:36-40).
      1. Eleazar is commanded to gather the censers (Numbers 16:36-38).
      2. They are to make a plate to cover the altar (Numbers 16:39-40).
  5. THE CONGREGATION FOLLOWS THE REBELS (Numbers 16:41-50)
    1. The Murmuring of the Congregation (Numbers 16:41-43)
      1. The object of their murmuring (Numbers 16:41)
      2. The appearance of the Lord (Numbers 16:42)
    2. The Plague from the Lord (Numbers 16:44-50)
      1. The judgment of the Lord (Numbers 16:44-45)
      2. The intercession of Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16:45)
      3. The working of Aaron (Numbers 16:46-47)
      4. The staying of the plague (Numbers 16:48)
      5. The effects of the plague (Numbers 16:49-50)

CONCLUSION: Rebellion is common, yet it is a wicked sin. Perhaps our viewpoint of it is not strong enough in light of God’s judgment in this chapter. May we learn to guard our own hearts from this horrid sin.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 11:12

He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.