And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.
Like Miriam before them, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram questioned Moses’ position of authority. That they, along with two hundred fifty leaders, came to the Tabernacle with censers in hand indicates that they thought they had a case, they thought they would be vindicated, and they thought God would justify their rebellion.
As I look back over my life, I am amazed by the times I thought I was right only to find out how wrong I was. “We all see through a glass darkly,” Paul said (see 1 Corinthians 13:12). And perhaps he understood this better than anyone. “I know this is the right thing to do,” he no doubt said as he dragged Christians from their homes, believing they were ruining Judaism and polluting the people of God. What a shock it must have been when, on his way to Damascus one day to imprison more believers, he was knocked to the ground. In that moment, this intellectual giant, this spiritually passionate man, must have realized that he had been absolutely, completely, and one hundred percent wrong (Acts 9).
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram thought they were right, but what they failed to factor into the equation was God’s sovereignty. God is on the throne. God is in control. Therefore, it’s not up to us to pull people down or prop people up. Sometimes I mistakenly think, “I need to straighten this guy out or pull that group down because if it’s gonna happen, it’s up to me.”
God, however, says, “Promotion does not come from the east, the west, or the south. I am the Lord who raises up one and puts down the other” (see Psalm 75:6–7).
It’s a great day when a person finally realizes that because God is on the throne and is in control, he can simply say, “Lord, You’re the One who will raise up one and put down another, be it the boss of my company or the leaders of our country. Therefore, I’m going to be submitted to You as I submit to those in authority over me.”
We can’t learn to be humble without being humiliated, to be forgiving without being wronged, to be sweet without bitter experiences. Therefore God uses people and situations in our lives to allow us to experience these things personally rather than just to propound them philosophically.