How to carry hope
Korach Numbers/B’midbar 16:1-18:32
Haftorah Reading: I Samuel 11:14-12:22
Messianic Scripture II Timothy 2:8-21, Jude 1-25
Before we get to the Torah portion today I want us first to talk about my question concerning Matthew 27:46. Here, as Yeshua is dying, He said, “My G-d, My G-d, why have you forsaken me?” I am sure all of us have heard pastors explain this verse by saying G-d could not look upon Yeshua on the cross because He was carrying the sins of the world. A holy G-d could not tolerate being in the presence of sin unless it was covered by a blood sacrifice. Have any of you ever heard this explanation or any other?
Psalms 22 begins with the exact words Yeshua said on the cross in Matthew 27. But the words in Psalms 22 were said by King David. Could these verses expand our understanding of Yeshua’s last words on the cross? Why would He have quoted those verses during His agony? As we read down through the entire Psalm we see several references to what Yeshua was going through at that time.
I believe Yeshua was using this quote from Psalms 22 to encourage His followers and give them hope. I believe he wanted them to know this was not the end. This was just a part of the process to bring hope for the world.
As you read this Psalms, near the end, you can find words of encouragement and hope. Remember, He was mainly speaking to a Jewish audience as He was dying. They would have quickly remembered this Psalm and the message of hope as it ends. This is again a place in scripture where if you only read from the Messianic Scripture, leaving out any connection to the Hebrew scripture you get only a partial picture of what is happening. So if we were taught that G-d turned his back on His only begotten son at his darkest moment, I believe we were not given the true message. In His agony He was still trying to comfort His Mother and followers, to give them hope, and remind them of what the future would be.
Now to the Torah portion. First, let me introduce the people involved in today’s Torah portion. Korah and his fellow Levites, Dathan, Aviram, and On were from the tribe of Reuben. Then there were 250 leaders, representatives of the rest of the tribes. Korach began with his statement that all of the people were holy and G-d was with them. Both of these statements were true on their face. In Exodus 25:8 we read, “Have them make My sanctuary for Me and I will dwell among them.” Also, in Exodus we read, “And you shall be unto Me, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.”
However, Korach in his last remark was wrong and also revealed his real motive. Here he says, “Why then do you set yourselves above G-d’s congregation?” Korach revealed his real purpose. He wanted the position of Moshe and Aaron. He overlooked the fact that G-d had appointed them to lead Israel. It was not a position they had sought after but was one that G-d had designated. Korach was stuck in the structure of how other nations or groups were organized. Other nations then and even today, were led by a strong leader who had grasped power. Then they led by force or fear. G-d had installed Moshe and Aaron, not man.
Dothan and Aviram as well as On had another issue. They were from the tribe of Reuven. They felt they had been overlooked. Their ancestor was the oldest child of Jacob and as such should have been favored. These men had hurt feelings. They also voiced a rejection of the land G-d had promised them when they used the same words to describe Egypt as G-d used to talk about Israel. Israel was a land flowing with milk and honey. (Numbers 16:13) In the same verse they also accused Moshe of bringing them out into the desert to kill them. These men forgot that the reason they were still in the desert was because of their rejection of the promises of G-d. They totally rejected Moshe and Aaron by refusing to even meet with them.
In all these cases we read of people who felt they were better or more qualified than Moshe and Aaron. They went so far as to accuse them of doing exactly what they were trying to do.
In these verses we see G-d’s rejection of what these men were set on doing, acquiring power and rebelling against authority. They looked at Moshe and Aaron through their own ideas not G-d’s.
How did G-d see leadership and in fact, relationships on every level? In Numbers 16:4 we read about Moshe falling on his face before G-d. In Numbers 12:3 we read, “Moshe was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth.” In the Messianic scripture we read in Matthew 23:12, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Humility is a quality that finds favor in the eyes of G-d. G-d is looking for a humbleness in each of us and especially in those that lead. C.S. Lewis defined humility not as thinking less of yourself but as thinking of yourself less.
As the people of G-d, we must respect others, lift them up and inspire them to reach higher than they might have done alone. People who serve do not lift themselves high. They lift other people high. We are still called to help heal and teach. Part of that may involve calling out sin and not allowing wrong behavior to flourish but even in that it must be done in a way that does not rob a person of their dignity.