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So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord.” (Numbers 16:46)

It is amazing to me that, after all that had occurred to Korah and those who led a rebellion against Moses, a good number of the people still hadn’t gotten the message. On the very next day after these things, a number of people stepped forward to rail accusations against Moses saying, “You have killed the people of the LORD.” It has been suggested in rabbinical commentary that this accusation was borne out of thinking that Moses, knowing the fatal outcome, baited the 250 princes into bring the incense offering. Whatever their logic, it is clear that they completely ignored the responsibility of their leaders.

So once again, bad things started happening prompting Moses to intercede yet again. While a plague is sweeping through the congregation, Aaron is instructed to take his censer with incense and fire from the altar in order to atone for people. That is very interesting in light of the fact that some of these people may have associated the incense altar with the death of their leaders. In sharp contrast, Moses and Aaron were demonstrating that the incense service brings life to those who are facing certain death. Thus we see, that which brings salvation to one can mean death for another — the outcome will depend upon the condition of the person’s heart.

Think of it this way: to acknowledge that God, in a time He has appointed, will bring judgement upon wickedness almost always conveys a negative message. I say “negative” because we understand that wicked men will perish. However, we must also acknowledge that God’s judgement against wickedness simultaneously brings vindication for the righteous. My point is, judgment is not necessarily a bad thing; how you see it depends on what side of the law you are on — in other words, the condition of your heart.

Though we don’t relish the notion of men perishing — God takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked — we shouldn’t look at God’s judgement as an altogether negative concept, that is, if we are walking upright before Him. For those who do so, His judgement is salvation, vindication and redemption and that is something to celebrate.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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