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Discovery Magazine 10/1/2003

Swallowed by the Ground!

After the Israelites failed to enter the Promised Land due to their unbelief (Numbers 14:11; Hebrews 3:19), they were doomed to wander aimlessly in the desert (also called the wilderness) for forty years (Numbers 14:34). One day, an Israelite named Korah, along with three of his friends and 250 other popular men, went to Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16). They told Moses and Aaron that they did not like being told what to do. They felt that they, too, should be allowed to be leaders with authority like Moses and Aaron.

This attempt to get more power, and to have more influence and popularity among the Israelites, was nothing more than rebellion against God. Korah and his friends should have been content with the important roles already given to them by God. But they selfishly wanted more attention and more importance.

Moses said that everyone who wanted more authority should bring his or her censer (incense burner) to the tabernacle the next day to let God settle the matter. In the meantime, much of the nation was convinced to side with Korah and his fellow rebels. So, the next day, God threatened to destroy the entire nation. But Moses begged God to punish only the ones who had started the rebellion. So God told Moses to warn the people to get away from the tents of Korah and his cohorts. Then God caused the ground to open up and swallow the rebellious men, along with their possessions and those family members who sided with them! This scared the people so badly that they began screaming and running in all directions. They were afraid that the ground would swallow them, too! Then God sent fire to burn up all the men who had joined Korah—250 in all.

God loves us very much. But this story teaches us that we must listen to God’s Word and do what He tells us to do. We must not become rebellious against authority—whether it is the will of God or our parents. We should be content with everything that God gives us, and not feel that we deserve more.

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