“The Lesson of the Trifles of Discontent”

Parashah KORACH  (Numbers 16:1-18:32) Week 38


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They assembled themselves against Moshe and Aharon and said to them, “You take too much on yourselves!  After all, the entire community is holy, every one of them, and ADONAI is among them.  So why do you lift yourselves up above ADONAI’S assembly?”  When Moshe heard this, he fell on his face.  Then he said to Korach and his whole group, “In the morning, ADONAI will show who are his and who is the holy person he will allow to approach him.  Yes, he will bring whomever he chooses near to himself.  Do this: take censers, Korach and all your group; put fire in them; and put the incense in them before ADONAI tomorrow.  The one whom ADONAI chooses will be the one who is holy!  It is you, you sons of Levi, who are taking too much on yourselves!”  (Numbers 16:3-7 CJB)

We enter into the Parashah as the leaders of the Nation of Israel become rebellious against Moshe and Aharon, questioning their leadership on the heels of the Sin of the Spies, and Adonai’s judgement upon all those who refused to enter the Promised Land.  Remember, in the judgement for the sins of the ten leaders who brought back negative reports of the giants they could not conquer, there was death.  In the aftermath of judgement, a remnant of naysayers still murmured.

As I ran and prayed over the Parashah, the story of further rebellion and discontent within the Nation of Israel drew my attention to many stories in Torah, and in our own lives, when we make light of God’s promises but give weight to our fear and misgivings.  This is our human nature; that old man, NEFESH.  What we give weight to is what we honor.  What we give weight to grows and becomes a giant in our mind and then our heart.  What we give weight to cannot be ignored, so we place weighty beliefs upon the pedestal of our life.

Moses asks a bold question of Korach and his rebellious supporters;  “Is it for you a mere trifle that the God of Isra’el has separated you from the community of Isra’el to bring you close to himself, so that you can do the work in the tabernacle of ADONAI and stand before the community serving them?”  (Numbers 16:9 CJB)

This was an attempt by a humble leader to ask a question which might bring truth back into a moment of discord, thereby leveling the emotions with the clarity of the situation.  Moses stated a truth within a question.  The truth was, Adonai had appointed the tribe of Levi and set them apart from the rest of the Nation for His holy service, AVODAH.  They, like the Kohanim, were appointed to draw nearer to Adonai than the other tribes by the fact that their service in maintaining the holy tabernacle would draw them nearer to the dwelling place of Adonai’s presence.  This was the truth!  They, like the Kohanim, were set apart as the personal ministers of the God of Israel, called to serve in the nearness of His divine presence, SHEKINAH.

The next question asked by Moses as leader of the Nation of Israel was;  “That’s why you and your group have gathered together against ADONAI!  After all, what is Aharon that you complain against him?” (Numbers 16:11)  Moses clearly forecasts the brewing rebellion to be against Adonai, not Aharon.

Korach and his rebellious followers were discontent with their position within the national structure of Israel as ordained by the Lord.  In the aftermath of the judgement for the Sin of the Spies, they grumbled that they would lead better than Moses and Aaron had done.  After all, the mission to reconnoiter the land of Kena’an had not ended well.  Yet, to place the weight of the results of the command to reconnoiter the Promised Land onto Moses or Aaron was to take Adonai, whose command it was, lightly.

When leaders elevate themselves onto a level playing field with the Lord God Almighty, giving weight to themselves or their counterparts, there will be judgement.  “Is it such a mere trifle, bringing us up from a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert, that now you arrogate yourself the role of dictator over us?”  (Numbers 16:13 CJB)

It was as clear as the water from Miriam’s well, in this quote by Datan and Aviram, leaders with Korach, they placed Moses on the pedestal instead of Adonai; between the Cherubim, over the Ark of the Covenant, and behind the Veil in the Holy of Holies!

This is the Lesson of the Trifles of Discontent.  It is our human nature, NEFESH, inextricably linked to our flesh, to find reasons to fear or loathe resting in a sovereign God.  It is in our human nature, to place ourselves or others like us, on a pedestal or an altar where we affix our gaze, attempting to find our rest by controlling the world around us.

This is part of our human condition, but it does not have to be our story.  As children of the light, we have a choice, moment by moment, to stay in alignment with a sovereign God, gazing upon His beauty.

This is the Lesson of the Trifles of Discontent.  When we succumb, like Korach, to the lies of the enemy, propelling visions into a future only the Lord could know, we take Adonai off of the throne of our lives.  Climbing up the steep, slippery marble altar, we position ourselves or someone like us there for a better vantage point.

After all, if we could only see more clearly, we would not need to rest in Adonai.  If we had a better vantage point, we could chart our own course, fight our own battles, and take the best territory for our own kingdoms!

This is the Lesson of the Trifles of Discontent.  The eternal attributes of Adonai must never be trifled with!

The facets of His glory are weighty and tangible; a perfect Hebrew translation for the word ‘Honor’.

This is where His promised REST will be found, as we invite His Divine Presence upon the altar of our hearts and lives.

This is the path to deep spiritual contentment, dear seeker, never to be found by trifling with the TRUTH:  The Lord God Almighty reigns!

This is my deepest Sabbath wish for each of you…and for myself and all my people!  Moment by moment, as we live out our temporary time on earth, may we be able to REDIRECT our eyes onto the Lord, who rules and reigns from the pedestal of each of our lives!

Shabbat Shalom,



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