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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: May 23, 2023

Numbers 16:1-22

When Korah and his men insist that Moses and Aaron have far too great a role in the worship life of the Israelites, what are they doing? Well, they’re certainly not coming to Moses out of concern. They’re not coming to him like Moses’ father-in-law Jethro did who told him privately that he was taking on too much, more than one man could bear, and that he needed to lean on the elders of the community for support. No, they come to Moses and Aaron like a mob, over 250 of them, insisting that these two have robbed them of the glory and honor that they deserve by right as sons of Levi themselves. All the assembly is holy. All of us deserve a greater share of the honor pie. Quit hogging it for yourselves. “We are holy. We are pure. We are of noble birth. We are capable and able. We deserve to stand before the presence of God and receive His honor.” For these men, the priesthood is not a heavy yoke of service that God calls certain men to carry, but a tool of self-glorification that they’ve earned the right to possess. For them, Moses and Aaron are princes clothed in too much gold. They’re not servants clothed in the humble yoke of service.

We see the same mindset in people today when they tell us that it’s wrong to deny women the right to be pastors, that we’re denying their gifts and withholding them of the honor they deserve to have. We see this same mindset when people insist that pastors are robbing people of their birthright as Christians when those pastors won’t permit anyone else to preach or administer the sacraments. “Pastor, let me read the lessons. Pastor, let me do the prayers. Pastor, you have gone too far.”

Now, as Moses notes, when Korah and his men do this, they’re not really rejecting Moses and Aaron. They’re rejecting the God who ordered things the way He did, the God who gave greater roles to Moses and Aaron. And the reason they’re rejecting God is because they’re rejecting the very heart of the Gospel by insisting that the priesthood is a prize that one earns.

But you have earned nothing from God. You gave God nothing but your sins. You did nothing to become worthy to enter His presence. That’s where you were until Christ came to your aid. Out of love for an unworthy sinner with your name, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest according to the Order of Melchizedek. And that great high priest washed you clean with His blood. He offered up the sacrifice of His own flesh and blood and made you holy. With His nail-pierced hands, your great high priest covered you in His righteousness and placed you in the presence of God.

So don’t see the office of the ministry as something that hinders you from earning the glory of God. See it as the means through which God gives you what Christ has already earned for you. Don’t see the office of the ministry as a way to clothe yourself in honor. See it as the gift that gives you the honor God has already won for you. Be at peace. You don’t need to become Moses or Aaron to become a beloved child of God. Through the ministry of your great high priest, you already possess all the honor and glory of the One who is greater than Moses and Aaron. You possess the honor and glory of Christ.

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