Select Wisdom Brand

A Powerful Posture

Numbers 16:1, 3-4
Now Korah … Dathan … Abiram … and On … assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” When Moses heard it, he fell on his face.

Because Numbers 16:4 in our English Bibles stops mid-sentence, without telling us what Moses does next after falling to the floor, let’s play a game of multiple choice to see how you think he’ll respond:

(A) Will Moses repent to these Levites of his ungodly pride?
(B) Will he roll around on the ground in uncontrollable laughter because of the ridiculousness of
their accusation?
(C) Will he rebuke them for their lawlessness and cry out to the LORD on their behalf?

If the past is prologue as some have said, then we know it can’t be option A, right? What has Moses ever done to exalt himself over the people? Has he ever, even once, come off to you as a prideful man? He’s got shortcomings, sure, but is egotism one of them? Not even close. In fact, God Himself reiterated to Miriam and Aaron during their previous revolt that Moses is the meekest man in Israel! What about option B, then? Well, have we ever seen Moses scoff at unbelievers? Did he roar with laughter when Pharaoh cursed God, or when the people sacrificed to a golden calf, or when his sister challenged his authority? Absolutely not. It hurt him too much to laugh. Sometimes he fell on his face before God and begged for mercy for the people. Other times, he mixed water with ashes and made the traitors eat at the fruit of their own idolatry. Thus, without even knowing what happens next in verse 5, without knowing whether Moses will cry out to God first or reprimand these belligerents first, we know for certain that he’s on his face for just that purpose.

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted,” says our Lord in Matthew 23:12, which really provides the irony of this Number 16 scene. The posture says it all. We know for certain that God has exalted Moses over these men because while they’re standing high on their soapboxes, Moses is once again on his knees.