Rebels Without A Good Cause
Rebellion seems to be a cause in itself these days. People will create a cause to rise up against something even when that something makes sense as it stands. Sometimes, people will even create a cause for something that totally doesn’t exist. If you’ve seen the movie “Wag the Dog,” you have seen how a Hollywood filmmaker can create a cause from scratch, and with the right emotions, can even create a huge amount of support for it. And in case you don’t believe this can happen in real life, you would be amazed at the amount of people who rose up to protect the “Naugas” due to an advertising prank by the makers of the “Naugahyde” material used for furniture. There’s some funny history of it (and the ability to adopt a Nauga) at http://www.nauga.com/history.html
In today’s reading from Numbers 16:1 through Numbers 16:13, we begin a new week and a new portion. We are now at Parashah 38 with the Hebrew title of Korach which is “Korah” in English. If you’ve ever read stories from the Old Testament, you’ve probably heard of the rebellion of Korah already, and you likely know how it ends, but I’m certain God will show us some great truths as we study it through the week.
Korah is one of the Levites, a son of Levites, a grandson of Levites, and just basically a great man within the tribe of Levi. Remember that the Levites have the job of camping near the tabernacle to protect the rest of the community of Israel from the anger of God, and to do the work required for the tabernacle. So Korah gets a following of 250 strong Levite leaders to stand with him, and together they go out to confront Moses and Aaron.
The men have decided that Moses and Aaron have taken it upon themselves to decide that they are the only ones who can speak with The Lord God Almighty. They say that the whole community is holy, and they say that Moses has chosen to take too much upon Himself by thinking that he is the only one holy enough to commune with God. Korah tells them that since The Lord is with the whole community of Israel, Moses should not be lifting himself up above the assembly.
Moses handles the confrontation by telling Korah and the 250 leaders that only God should decide who is holy enough to meet with Him. He tells the men to bring an offering of incense to God the next day, and then they will see who God will accept to speak with. He also tells them that they are seeing the work they currently do for God as too small a thing if being chosen and set apart from the rest of the community is not enough for them, and if they will only be satisfied if they also have a part in the priesthood. And then Moses asks them why they would also point fingers at Aaron to show them where their hearts are really at.
After the conversation with Korah, Moses sends for two other leaders that were with him named Dathan and Abiram. The men send back a message that they will not come at Moses’ bidding. From the last two verses in our reading, you can hear the disrespect and accusations in their answer to Moses. Here’s what they say…
“But they replied, “We won’t come up! Is it such a mere trifle, bringing us up from a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert, that now you arrogate to yourself the role of dictator over us?”
Their accusation makes me wonder if they are descended from the same people who accused Moses of trying to be a dictator when he stopped the two Israelites from beating up on each other back when things first began in Egypt. Back then, instead of listening to his logic that they should pull together as a people to stand against their tormentors, the men who were fighting just accused Moses of trying to be a dictator over them. Now it’s the same story, but on a different day.
To me, a cause should have a good cause, and not just good for me or for a few followers but good for the majority or whole of the people. Salvation is a good cause because it’s good for everyone, and it’s good for eternity. Atheism, however, is not a good cause because it leaves people without a support system that is above humanity, and it threatens their eternity. Whatever the cause, or the rebellion, the important thing is to make sure no one will be hurt.
The sign in the above image is a real sign. I believe it is in Chicago, and I believe it’s similar to one I took of my husband when we visited there. And the guy is likely standing there for the same reason my husband did–because we could see no reason for a sign that told people they couldn’t stand on a public sidewalk. But what if there was a reason? What if that particular area was known for having cars come up on the curb? Or maybe it was an area where a lot of overhead construction went on and debris could fly up. I don’t know if there is a cause for the city putting up such a sign, but since that photo on Flickr is dated December of 2013, it has been there for at least a few years. Maybe the city just wants to see how many people will rebel and purposely stand in that area just to say they did it.
Rebels and the spirit of rebellion have been around since the adversary challenged Yahveh Almighty for His throne. When their causes have been good, such as the fight against Goliath or the fights against Hitler in World War II, the victories meant freedom for people that were otherwise doomed. But when the causes are bad, such as the determination of the school system to fill the minds of students with everything they can find that opposes God, the results are a restless society with chaos and violence and total dissatisfaction. There is a time to fight, and there is a time to be content. Let God be the one to lead us in how we choose our causes, and we will be content with His peace whether we’re following Him into a time of battle or a time of rest.
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