Day 65: Revolt Against Moses

Numbers 16:1-35 Groups of Levites and Reubenites rebelled against Moses, and God punished the perpetrators with their lives.


Deuteronomy 15:1-11 During the sabbatical year, already described in Exodus and Leviticus, debts were to be forgiven. Works of charity and concern for the poor were highly valued in the Old Testament, and a number of laws-such as those detailing fair wages, tithes, loans, and debt forgiveness-addressed this issue. (CCC 2445-2449)


Ch 15:12-18 Slavery was an accepted practice in the Old Testament and even into the Christian era. Although the Mosaic Law did not ban it outright, it did try to protect the interests of slaves and called for humanitarian treatment. (CCC 2446, 2455)


Ch 16:1-17 The Israelites were to celebrate the major feasts “at the place where the Lord will choose.” When the Temple was built in Jerusalem, it became the pilgrimage site for all the people of Israel to gather for religious celebrations. The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorated the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. (CCC 1334)


Psalm 97 The coming of the king is synonymous with victory: the idolaters are shamed and the faithful shout for joy. It is a new day, radiating new light on those who have persevered in faith. This psalm lists the characteristics of those who are faithful, which includes hatred of evil, love for God, commitment to justice and righteousness, and praise and thanksgiving to God. These guidelines have not lost their value and importance in uniting ourselves to God in preparation for the Second Coming. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, April 3, 2002)


Rejoice!: The encouragement in this psalm reminds us of Mary’s self-revelation to her cousin Elizabeth, known as the Magnificat: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Lk 1:47). The Incarnation is the fulfillment of what was prophesied in the Old Testament about the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the world. (CCC 30, 2622)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


  • Numbers 16

  • The theme lately has been REBELLION

  • Aaron and Miriam rebelling against Moses in Ch 12

  • The ten spies telling the people they can’t possibly conquer Canaan

  • The people rebel against Moses and Aaron

  • Today Korah, Dathan, and Abiram lead a rebellion against Moses and Aaron

  • Korah is the son of Kohath, the son of Levi

  • Kohathites are of the Tribe of Levi

  • There were four families in the Tribe of Levi

  • The sons of Aaron (the priests)

  • The Merarites

  • The Gershonites

  • And the Kohathites

  • The Merarites and the Gershonites were responsible for the structures like the poles and the tents

  • They were in service of the Tabernacle and the Tent of Meeting, and what will eventually become The Temple

  • The Kohathites were responsible for caring for the Sacred Objects

  • They were basically second to the Sons of Aaron

  • They (besides the sons of Aaron) were closest to the Presence of the Lord and serving the Lord directly

  • WHAT DOES SERVE MEAN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?? (POP QUIZ HOTSHOTS!!)

  • WORSHIP!!!! (GOOD JOB ONE AND ALL :) )

  • That wasn’t enough for them

  • They were jealous

  • They wanted to be priests too

  • Then we had this throw down

  • Num Ch 16:4 The Kohathites assemble against Moses and Aaron and ask why do they exalt themselves? Moses falls on his face.

  • Moses’ response to this rebellion is to PRAY

  • They accuse Moses of making himself a prince over them

  • Moses gets angry and his first response is to PRAY

  • Moses is being unjustly and unfairly attacked

  • So what does Moses do?

  • Moses TURNS TO THE LORD FIRST

  • Moses tells them to get censers and incense and worship the Lord

  • Whoever the Lord accepts can be priests

  • The Lord destroys the families of Kohath, Dathan, and Abiram

  • He removes them from the face of the earth

  • EVEN AFTER THIS, THAT THIS IS CLEARLY GOD’S WILL, the Israelites REBEL AGAIN!!!

  • That is pretty remarkable

  • This is CLEARLY GOD’S WILL

  • God is exacting JUSTICE

  • God is NOT EXACTING VENGEANCE

  • This is VERY FAIR what happens

  • God must make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that HE ALONE IS HOLY, HE IS GOD, HE IS ALONE HOLY

  • Only those GOD HAS CALLED, the Sons of Aaron, can worship in the Temple

  • This is key

  • They rebel anyway

  • So Moses tells Aaron to get the incense and stand before the Plague and the People

  • Aaron is making atonement for the people through the incense, the burning fire

  • The Plague STOPS

  • Dathan and Abiram tell Moses that they won’t do what he asked of them

  • Num 16:13 They tell him “Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness…”

  • The Promised Land is the real LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY

  • They CAME OUT OF EGYPT

  • Yes, Egypt was a rich place

  • BUT THEY WERE SLAVES THERE

  • They described their former home, their place of SLAVERY as a LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY

  • It is remarkable to think how easy it is for them to say that

  • These are a people who are ADDICTED

  • They are ADDICTED TO THEIR PAST

  • They are ADDICTED TO THIS COMFORT THEY THOUGHT THEY HAD

  • They are ADDICTED TO THEIR FORMER WAY OF LIFE

  • THEY MUST BE CURED OF THIS ADDICTION

  • They keep looking back at this place of slavery and bondage

  • And they think this place was THEIR LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY

  • This is ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE

  • In our eyes, that is crazy, isn’t it?

  • Isn’t that how we can live as well?

  • So often, we look back on our past

  • Even if it was a past of SIN

  • Even if it was a past of BROKENNESS

  • Even if it wa a past of BONDAGE

  • And we think, “Yeah, but it was really fun” (I know I have thought this way before)

  • And we think, “Yeah, but I was happier than I ever was” (Yup, been there, done that)

  • The Lord God is leading you and me through a desert, through battles, TO A PLACE OF TRUE FREEDOM

  • Deuteronomy: God is not only a GOD OF JUSTICE, but also a GOD WHO CARES ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE POOR

  • Those who belong to God, He tells them, “There shall not be one poor person among you.”

  • Why?

  • Because God is bringing them to The Promised Land, rich and bountiful with enough for EVERYBODY

  • “If there is someone who is poor, YOU WILL TAKE CARE OF THEM”

  • “If there is someone who is in need, YOU WILL TAKE CARE OF THEM”

  • He even tells them they might have to employ them

  • Sometimes people, if desperate enough, people will sell themselves into slavery

  • NOT CHATTEL SLAVERY

  • BUT INDENTURED SERVITUDE

  • 6 YEARS of service, not permanent

  • Remember the SABBATICAL YEAR

  • You set them free in the 7th year

  • Not only do you set them free, but you give them what they need TO START A NEW AND FREE LIFE

  • That is how they TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER

  • Even if the servant did not want to leave, God allowed them to stay if they wanted to, even until the end of their lives if they loved the family they served

  • It is really REMARKABLE and POWERFUL

  • That the Israelites were called to take care of those WHO COULDN’T TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES

  • God also says very clearly, “YOU WILL DO THIS WITH AN OPEN HAND.”

  • “YOU WON’T DO THIS GRUDGINGLY”

  • “YOU WON’T DO THIS RESENTFULLY”

  • “YOU WON’T EVEN THINK BADLY ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE POOR AMONG YOU.”

  • “YOU WILL PROVIDE FOR THEM.”

  • “YOU WILL HELP THEM.”

  • “YOU WILL SERVE THEM.”

  • Deut Ch 16 The Three Major Festivals of Worship

  • Feast of Passover

  • Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)

  • Feast of Booths (Feast of Tabernacles)

  • In all of this, what do we have?

  • GO BEFORE THE LORD AND WORSHIP HIM

  • Deut Ch 15: CARE FOR THE POOR, LOVE THOSE AROUND YOU WITH JUSTICE AND WITH MERCY AND WITH JOY

  • Deut Ch 16: WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD

  • Keep praying for each other and for Fr Mike


Prayer by Fr Mike: “Father in Heaven we thank you, we thank you and we give you praise. We thank you for your justice and you reveal that when you set up the people of Israel and when you gave them a law, when you gave them your law, you revealed your heart. Your heart is true. You are truth, Lord God. You are justice. You call your people just like you call us to live justice, to do right, to walk humbly, to love goodness, and to care for those who are around us. Lord God, help us to have hearts like yours. Hearts that love justice. Hearts that run away from evil. Hearts that hate evil. Hearts that are open to those around us who are in need. Lord God, before you we stand in need. So we ask you to send us your Holy Spirit to meet us in every one of our needs. You are the source of all goodness. You are the source of all truth. You are the source of all justice and we need you. So come and be near us now. We make this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”