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Jul 17

The Number Is Zero

Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

360px-Earthquake_cracks_near_BexleyI have a friend who read the Bible and his conclusions broke his heart. He read about a God who didn’t fit his paradigm. He read about a God who didn’t do what he thought best. He read about a God who seemed to sit silent through tragedy. His crumbling faith and doubts rippled through him like an earthquake. The chasm led him to abandon his previous love for God.

When people face tragedy, they usually have one of three reactions. They blame God, they turn to God for help or they abandon God.

The God of the Bible does not always explain the whys because God is not a “paint by numbers” deity.

1 + 3 + 250

The book of Numbers recounts that one day Korah and three other leaders incited a rebellion against Moses. They along with 250 other powerful leaders of the community, united against Moses and Aaron and said, “You have gone too far! What right do you have to lead?” 1

When Moses heard what they were saying, he was humbled, hurt and angry. He replied, “Tomorrow morning the Lord will show us who is right and who is wrong in God’s eyes.”

Korah had stirred up the entire community against Moses and Aaron, and they all gathered at the Tabernacle entrance. The Lord appeared and said to Moses and Aaron, “Get away from all these people so that I may instantly destroy them!”

If I were in Moses’ position I might be thrilled. I would be feeling hurt, angry, resentful and vindictive.

Who wouldn’t be?

Two

Instead, Moses and Aaron pleaded with God, “That’s not like you. You’re the Creator-God not the destroyer. Must you be angry with all the people when only one man sins?”

And the Lord said to Moses, “Then tell all the people to get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”  Moses got up and rushed over to their tents, “Quick!” he told the people. “Get away from these tents, and don’t touch anything.”

So all the people stood back from their tents and then Dathan and Abiram, together with their wives and children came out and stood at the entrances of their tents.

And Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord chose me to lead. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, then you will know the truth.”

He’d hardly finished speaking when the ground suddenly split open – earth opened its mouth and swallowed Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and their families, and everything they owned. They all vanished.

How many were left?

Zero

God is not about zero fun, but wanted zero traps that so easily kill us.

Death can be slow like a crumbling relationship or an addiction. Death can be catastrophic like a car accident OR an earthquake that swallows up a neighborhood.

In the most fearful situations “God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.” 2

We’re blessed when we’re at the end of our rope.
– No excuses.
– No minimizing.
– No justifications.
Even Korah, Dathan, and Abiram could have had God’s blessings if they regretted their rebellion. They would have been welcomed back and transformed by God. Their pride and arrogance cost their families their lives. 3

Please God help us is #mysilentscream.

1 – Paraphrased from Numbers chapter 16, NLT
2 – Matthew 5:3, NLT
3 – Regarding the destruction of families and possessions (Num. 16:32), John Walton explains: People in the ancient world and in Israel found their identity in family units rather than in the individual. Decisions were clan decisions; offense was clan offense. Korah was his family, and his family was Korah.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

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