18 February 2012

He Has Brought You Near

"...Is it not enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord; and to stand before the congregation to minister to them; and that He has brought you near,...and all your brothers... with you?  And are you seeking the priesthood also?  Numbers 16:9

 According to Numbers 16:3, Korah recognized that the whole congregation was holy and the Lord was in their midst.  What a great revelation that we should all have!  However, Korah failed to see that although God desired to dwell with all men, He chose different people for different tasks, some for building, some for worship, some for war, some for leadership and some to follow.  Korah decided that because He too was holy and the Lord was in his midst, that he should have a voice in the decision making for the Israelites.  He decided that because Moses and Aaron were the decision makers, they had exalted themselves above the assembly of the Lord.  In so doing, he incited others to join him in his wisdom and knowledge of the presence of the Lord.  He incited rebellion among 250 leaders of the congregation.  There was just one problem with his human reasoning on spiritual matters, God had called Moses to lead the people.  And, God had placed Aaron along side Moses.  Korah had been separated and given place among the congregation to serve the tabernacle of the Lord and to minister to the congregation.  But that wasn't enough, Korah wanted power and authority that had not been given to him.  He coveted the priesthood.

Would anyone today dare admit rebellion against their God-given authority?  Would anyone today desire the priesthood more than the place they've been given by the Lord?  In a western world of independence, we hold fast to scriptural pieces like, "...obey God rather than man" to comfort our resistance to "Obey those who have the rule over you and submit to them".  How easy is it to find fault with our Moses when we know that we too have been anointed by God?

But lets look a little closer at these scriptures and see them in the light of the rest of the Word.  In Acts chapter 5 when the disciples said  "we ought to obey God rather than man" it was not due to a disagreement with how the gospel should be presented, it was due to having been told that they could not preach the gospel.  Notice also that the disciples did not go around chatting to others about how wrong the Pharisees were.  They were not finding fault with the leadership.  Their focus was on Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  The disciples preached the Kingdom.  When religious leaders told them to stop preaching about Jesus, they said, "We must obey God rather than man."  They could not stop telling of the great things they had witnessed.  Often times in our modern day churches, a person will find that they disagree with the way the gospel is being preached.  They find fault with how the leadership presents the gospel of Jesus.  In short order they are discussing with those closest to them how it really should be done.  They are convinced that their revelation of Jesus is better and should be considered above that of their Moses.  Surely they know more than the man that God has put in place to lead them.  Before long, the attitude of Korah is adopted and they begin to see leadership as self appointed, arrogant and lording over the congregation.  When in truth, the Lord chose and appointed that leadership, in a way that  pleased Him.

I Corinthians 12 clearly states that Yes, we were all baptised into one Body and we were all made to drink of One Spirit.  It goes on to say the Body is not one member, but many and God has placed those members in the Body as it pleased Him.  Just like He chose Moses to lead the people and Aaron to be at his side.  Just like He set Korah apart to serve and minister, and others were appointed to the priesthood.  He has appointed in the Church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.  Then He says, "All are not apostles, are they?  All are not prophets, are they?  All are not workers of miracles, are they?"

So, what about leadership in the church?  The New Testament clearly states that we are all saved by the same grace, that we all have the same access to the Throne, that we do not need a mediator other than Jesus.  Why then, does the same Word teach us to obey those that have the rule over us and to submit to them?  Hebrews 13:17 continues, "... for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.  Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."  God is always about what is in our best interest.  He is always about profiting us.

Why do you suppose the original 12 that Jesus called were the first leaders in the church?  Perhaps their time in the presence of the Lord gave them some revelation about the Father that the rest of the 120 didn't yet have, although they too walked with Him.  Perhaps Paul was able to give Timothy instruction simply because God had chosen to place Paul in the Body as it pleased Him.  All through the New Testament, as the church is being established, their is instruction for leadership, on how to lead, and for the congregation, on how to follow.  We are all equal in our salvation and ability to come before the throne of grace.  But, your hand is superior to your foot.  It's just the way the body is put together.  It is positioned above, not in that it is more important, but that it has been placed in a different position which happens to be above your foot and it holds a different responsibility.  Considering importance is ridiculous.  If you want to walk, your foot is more important than your hand.  But, if you want to eat, your tongue is more important than your foot.  It depends on the task at the moment.  Each part of the body is equally valued.  But positioned so as to please the Lord.

There was no reason for Korah to feel less than as he ministered to the congregation.  His position was important to the whole.  Someone needed to stand in the tabernacle and minister to the congregation.  Likewise, someone had to lead the people to the promised land.

You may think that you know the best route to take to get to the milk and honey.  You may know the short cuts and bypasses.  But the Lord put your Moses in place to lead you because He trusts your Moses to hear His voice and do it His way.  Perhaps He did not ask you to lead the people because you are so wise in your own eyes that you would not heed His voice.  He knows the short cut holds dangers that you do not know.  Sometimes our leadership has walked those paths and they too knows the dangers.  Other times, they have not walked that path, but they hear the Lord saying, "Follow Me and do not turn to the left or to the right".  Often going around the mountain may be easier and faster, but the strength and endurance that is built by climbing over, is what will carry you through the next battle, that you did not know was ahead.  It is your Moses' responsibility to take you there.  Even when Your Moses takes you to the edge of the ocean and you are hemmed in on every side, you must trust that the Lord your God has directed him to bring you to this place, because He is about to show you and all those with you, His salvation.

Lean not on your own understanding, but trust the Lord.

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