Numbers 16:47–48: “Then Aaron took [a censer with fire from the altar and incence] as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.”

January 26th, 2023 by Pastor Ed in devotional

God had been appearing daily to the people in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. In addition to that, He was continually sending manna 6 days a week, giving them the main ingredient for their daily bread. They certainly had tangible, physical evidence of God’s provision, care, and involvement in their lives each and every day. Yet, in spite of His goodness towards them, serious opposition was building in the camp. Resentment was directed toward Moses, and a small but vocal group of people expressed their doubt in his ability to lead. This resentment finally grew into full-fledged, open rebellion and mutiny against the man of God.

Moses called for a showdown; both sides were to come and burn incense before the Lord as a test. They wanted God to choose between them who was to lead His people. But no one expected the 250 people offering incense to be instantly struck dead by lightening. You would certainly think that sort of response from God would have settled the matter once and for all, but never underestimate the arrogant and rebellious attitude that walking in sin provides people. The next day a large group came against Moses again, complaining and blaming him for the 250 dead. God responded by sending a plague that killed almost 15,000 people. The Lord was making it abundantly clear just whom He had chosen to lead the people through the wilderness—Moses.

Obedience to God was the clear lesson for them that day and for us today. Our Father still expects us to follow Him wherever He leads. How we need the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of God every day. We must strive to stay humble before Him, meaning we must never allow rebellion to take over our hearts again. We never want to go back to our old lives, where we challenged every thing and everyone who crossed our will.

“LORD, we never want to challenge You. Keep us from that temptation today.”