And Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord.”
And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.Numbers 16:28-33 NIV
I find this to be one of the most interesting stories of the Exodus, if not the entire Old Testament. Every time I read it, there is a part of me that perversely finds it to be funny. But also horrifying. And I can’t help but wonder what the reaction would be today if God were to duplicate this event when issues of leadership crop up.
Dealing with Leadership Problems
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were leaders in Israel and had a following. These three men were leading a rebellion against Moses and his leadership of the nation. But God did not let this human-led rebellion succeed against his chosen leader. He crushed the rebellion in a way that would likely have caused other would-be rebels to think twice about it.
Picture a church today with leadership problems. A group within the church is complaining about the pastor. They feel he is leading them in the wrong direction. So a special business meeting is called to try and fire the pastor and establish new leadership. And in the midst of the discussion, God decides to demonstrate to the church who it is that he has chosen. The earth opens up under the leaders of the rebellion; they fall into the void, and the ground swallows them up. Problem solved.
So why doesn’t God use this method again? Or any other method that would clearly demonstrate his calling on our leaders? It would surely reduce the number of leadership issues within the church. But he does not. He leads and guides with a still small voice that is sometimes hard to discern. And he allows us to deal with the issues we face in order to help us to grow in faith and maturity. He stands ready to whisper advice. It is up to us to hear and obey.