Numbers 16:15-38–Then Moses became very angry and said to the Lord, “Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them.”16 Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers are to appear before the Lord tomorrow—you and they and Aaron. 17 Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it—250 censers in all—and present it before the Lord. You and Aaron are to present your censers also.” 18 So each of them took his censer, put burning coals and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 19 When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to the entire assembly. 20 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” 22 But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, “O God, the God who gives breath to all living things, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?”23 Then the Lord said to Moses, 24 “Say to the assembly, ‘Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’”25 Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 He warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.” 27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children, and little ones at the entrances to their tents.
28 Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: 29 If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. 34 At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!” 35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.36 The Lord said to Moses, 37 “Tell Eleazar, son of Aaron, the priest, to remove the censers from the charred remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy— 38 the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives. Hammer the censers into sheets to overlay the altar, for they were presented before the Lord and have become holy. Let them be a sign to the Israelites.”
The remaining verses of this chapter are copied here for us to read through the reactions of Moses himself and his pronouncement on Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their families which God honored immediately while he was speaking to prove to the congregation that he was doing everything according to the directives of God. Something that had never happened took place that day, with the earth opening his mouth to swallow all of them. The 250 supporters were burnt to death while their censers were placed in the sanctuary as a sign to those coming behind. You will think that is enough terrible thing to watch among them, the next day, the whole community gathered themselves against Moses and Aaron accusing them of killing the LORD’s people (v,41), The LORD responded again with an outbreak of plague that killed 14,700 people before the plague was stopped by Moses and Aaron’s intervention. This is the story of God’s people as they went through one calamity to another. The journey that was supposed to be peaceful, with God leading them by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, became a battlefield which resulted in the loss of thousands of lives.
Many problems we face today are due to our indiscipline and disobedience to the laws of God. Even when we know the consequences of sin, we still behave as if it doesn’t matter. People are afflicted with different diseases, financial problems, marital problems, drugs, and alcohol addiction and so many other societal problems. If we had lived in the fear of the LORD, obeying the laws of God, and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, life would have been much better than the way it is now. What brought this COVID-19 to the world? Up till now we have no control over this problem and we do not know what went wrong and we are not crying unto God to help us out. Instead of learning from lessons in the Bible concerning what happened to the people of God during their time, and how God came to their rescue, we are lamenting on the death toll. My prayer is that our God will open our eyes of understanding and direct us the way we should go so as to live a life that will be pleasing to our God. Amen!