Numbers 17:12-13 “The Israelites said to Moses, ‘We will die! We are lost, we are all lost! Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the LORD will die. Are we all going to die?'”
Korah and crew, some 250 Levites, had decided that they were going to take care of the tabernacle as well as take over the priestly duties all because Moses had, in their opinion, brought them out into the wilderness to die and not give them the promised inheritance in Canaan. Because of their rebellion against God, Korah was swallowed up whole in the earth while his 250 compatriots were burned with fire from God’s presence for offering up unauthorized fire like Aaron’s sons in addition to their rebellion. Once the people saw this traumatic display of God’s anger, they cried out for their lives in fear of dying if they ever came near the tabernacle.
The people of Israel cried out for their lives because they witnessed firsthand the wrath of God toward those who would desecrate His holy things! Under the Mosaic Law, death was certain for these types of willful, unlawful acts of rebellion with no regard for God’s Word or holiness. The people in one sense were right in fearing for their lives because they saw sinners in the hands of an angry God; however, they were also wrong for fearing death. If they loved God from their heart, they would not have encroached upon His holiness.
Fortunately for us in this regard, Jesus’ blood–the new covenant–takes away that wrongful fear of the Almighty and allows us to come into His presence both as God Almighty and as God the Father. We are still to have a holy fear of God called reverence because He is holy and commands us to be holy as He is. In that sense we don’t want to take life into our own hands by rebelling against God because the wages of sin is death, as we saw with Korah and company.
Oh the continued separation from the Father that would exist if Jesus hadn’t died upon the cross shedding His blood as the payment for our sins. Simultaneously, He also redeemed our relationship with God. Jesus gained us entry into the throne room of God, where we don’t have to hide behind a veil of separation. Oh how grateful we should be that the work of the cross broke down the barrier that keeps mankind away from God!
Father, I am ever so grateful that Jesus died upon the cross for the sins of all mankind and not just mine. Your love gift of His precious blood that brings eternal life removes that dread and fear that the ancients experienced after witnessing the horror of the demise of their countrymen for violating not just Your holy things and ways but Your very being! I know why John recorded Jesus’ words of not fearing man who can kill the body but to fear God, the One, who can kill body and soul and throw them into hell. Thank You for sparing us from that eternity of which Korah and crew suffer now. In all humility, In Jesus’ name, Amen.