VERSES: Numbers 16:1-50
MEMORY VERSE: Numbers 16:48 "And he stood between the living and the dead: and the plague stayed."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: Romans. Write "Romans" on slips of paper and hand them out at the end of the class.
PRAYER: Let all of us remember that God loves pure, dedicated, obedient hearts and try our best to have that kind of heart.
SPECIAL SONG: Be Careful Little Eyes (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog)
VISUAL AID: "Korah's Rebellion" (same as Activity below)
LESSON POINTS: Special Note: This lesson is a little longer than normal, so might start right on time today!
- It is never good to go against God. We know this is true because we have been studying for a long time now about what happens to people who do not love the LORD enough to obey Him. For some reason, there are some people who do not think of the consequences of their actions and rebel against God. That's what a man named Korah and his followers did. They forgot that God is all powerful and expects His children to obey Him, much like parents expect their children to obey them.
- There were four men, Korah, who was a Levite, and Dathan, Abiram, and On, who were from Reuben's family. These four men stood up before Moses with 250 of their friends who were in the congregation and were Israelite leaders, but they did not respect Moses and Aaron and the authority that God had given them. They gathered together in one place and told Moses and Aaron to their faces, "Why do you exalt yourselves above the congregation of the LORD when everyone here is holy, every single one of the people is holy?" When Moses heard what this group had to say, he fell on his face, then he said to Korah and to all the group, "Tomorrow the LORD will make known who is His and who is holy and who is allowed to come close to Him. Korah and all those that are in agreement with him, this is what you should do tomorrow: Take your censors, put fire and incense in them in the presence of the LORD. He will choose who is holy. You have exalted yourselves too much, you sons of Levi! Isn't it enough that you are Levites and have special privileges and jobs? He has allowed you, as Levites, to come closer to Him than others are allowed and now you seek the priesthood as well? What has Aaron done to you that you can complain against him?"
- Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, but they said that they would not come. They refused to obey the rules.This is called 'rebellion.' They complained to Moses and asked him why he was going to kill them in the wilderness and then make himself a prince over the people. Was this right? Was it Moses who didn't want to go into the Promised Land and was it Moses who was going to kill them in the wilderness? NO! The PEOPLE would not go and GOD gave them consequences for their sin! Normally, Moses was a meek and patient man, but this made Moses very angry and Moses suggested to God that He not accept any of their offerings. He said that he had not taken even a donkey from them and he had never wronged even one of them.
- So, Moses told Korah that he and all his company, and even Aaron, should appear before the LORD the next day. Each man was to take his censor, filled with fire and incense and stand of the door of the tabernacle. The next day, they did as they were told and the glory of the LORD appeared to the congregation. God told Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the congregation because He was going to destroy all of the people in a moment! Moses and Aaron both fell on their faces and asked God if He would destroy them because a few had sinned. So the LORD told Moses to tell everyone to step away from Korah, Dathan, and Abiram on every side and to stay away from the tents of those wicked men or they, too, would be consumed for those men's sins. So, everyone stepped far away from the men and their tents, and all that they owned. The men stood outside their tents with their families.
- Moses then said, "This is the way that you will all know that God has sent me to do these things and I have not done anything by myself. If these men here die a natural death and nothing happens to them right now, you will all know that the LORD has not sent me. But, if the earth opens up and swallows them up and everything that belongs to them, and they go down into a pit alive, then you will know these men have made the LORD God angry."
- Guess what? It happened just like Moses said it would! The ground underneath only those men's feet and tents opened up and everything that they owned including them and their families went deep inside the ground and then the ground closed up again and they all died. Everyone who was standing around them, all of those 250 friends, started to run away because they were afraid that they, too, would be swallowed up, but a fire from the LORD came out and consumed every one of those 250 men offering incense. God wanted pure, dedicated, and obedient hearts, not rebellious hearts that disobeyed Him. He wanted the people to remember this lesson about Korah and the rebellion.
- God told Moses to tell Eleazar, Aaron's son, to go get the 250 censors from the fire and scatter all the ashes around because it was holy, then to take the brass censors and hammer them down to make a broad plate for a covering for the altar. This was to be a memorial to the Israelites that no one who was not from Aaron's family was to offer incense before the LORD.
- Now you would think that was the end of the story, but it wasn't. The very next morning, do you know what the Israelites did? They complained about Moses and Aaron, saying that they had killed the people of the LORD!! They did not learn that it was the one who sinned that caused his own death! If Korah and his friends had been obeying God, they would not have died! So God heard the people complaining and He told Moses to get away from the people that He was going to kill all of them right then. Moses and Aaron fell on their faces and Moses told Aaron to hurry and take a censer, put fire and incense in it, and make atonement for the people because God's anger had already gone out to the people and a plague had begun. Aaron did as Moses said and the Bible says that as Aaron ran out in the middle of the people, he stood between the living and the dead and the plague was stopped, so not everyone died. 14,700 people besides Korah and his friends died that day. All because of Korah. Very sad. We always need to obey God. God wants what is best for us because He loves us very much, but He wants us to obey Him always.
- Discuss the fact that all Levites were not all priests, but all priests were Levites. From no other tribe or family did God allow to be priests. (Leviticus 6)
ACTIVITY: "Korah's Rebellion" *Please Note: This is not a difficult project, but it may take a little extra time for small children. The brown papers can be made in advance by the Bible teacher to assure there is enough time to finish. (You can do this!! The kids will remember this story for a long time with this project.)
Materials needed: 12" x 18" brown construction paper, three 2" x 4" different colored scraps of paper, three 5" x 1" strips of white paper, tape, scissors, crayons, marker.
- Hand out brown paper to students.
- Fold paper in half, length-side.
- Fold paper in half again, so there are four panels when unfolded.
- Re-fold Panel One and Panel 4, so they both meet in the middle. This creates the "pit."
- Crease all folds well.
- Unfold paper. Place on table, landscape-style.
- Between first and second panels and third and fourth panels, cut 1 1/2" slits on top and bottom. (Total four slits.) (see picture below #8).
- Fold inward point of slit to inside middle half of entire paper.
- Hold up brown paper, so that inward triangles met. Tape like this on each side. (see below.)
- Fold any-color strips of paper in half, and in half again. This is a tent.
- Unfold small strips of paper, fold like a 'tent' and tape. Make three tents..
- On white paper, write "Korah", draw his family; leave an extra inch of blank, white paper on one side to fold so the triangle will stand up. Tape to secure.
- On white paper, write "Abiram", draw his family; leave an extra inch of blank, white paper on one side to fold so the triangle will stand up. Tape to secure.
- On white paper, write "Dathan", draw his family; leave an extra inch of blank, white paper on one side to fold so the triangle will stand up. Tape to secure.
- Write "Korah's Rebellion" and "Numbers 16" on the edge of the brown paper.
- Place tents and families on top of flat 'ground.'
- Have students practice holding the pit with the three tents and three families on the top of the "ground." Open up the "earth" and let the families and tents fall in!
- This is a great visual aid for this lesson!