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Rhetorical Righteousness

Numbers 16:8-11
And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself? … And would you seek the priesthood also? Therefore it is against the LORD that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?

‘Is God’s will too small a thing for you?’, Moses begins, cutting to the heart of their covetousness. ‘Will Aaron’s role satisfy your desire?’, he adds, exposing their false motives. ‘Has Aaron done you harm—is that why you’re here?’, he concludes, rebuking their vain ambition. Note just how potent rhetorical questions can be in the mouth of the righteous.

God’s Word is full of questions like these. “Where are you, Adam and Eve?”, our LORD asked in Eden, knowing full well where they were. “Where is your brother, Abel?”, He questioned Cain while the blood was still dripping from Cain’s murderous hands. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the world?”, He called to Job from the whirlwind. “Why do you call me good?”, He probed the unbelieving rabbis who came to exploit Him. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?”, He asked the bemused crowds. “What’s more difficult: to say to a man, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk,’ or to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven?’”, He questioned the unbelieving Pharisees who blasphemed His power. The King of Righteousness is the Master of rhetoric!

This Levite mob hasn’t stormed in with torches blazing because they want spiritual revival. They’re here for a power grab. They’re not sure what they want exactly, but they know they want more. More power, more authority, more notoriety. Maybe they don’t want Aaron’s cloth as it were, but they’d like that golden ephod and those onyx stones nonetheless. So, they charge in before God’s chosen messengers to dress them down with what they believe to be stinging accusations; but they only walk away naked themselves.

Friend, celebrate what God has made of your little life today! Rejoice in the role He’s fashioned your hands and feet to play in His collaborative gospel enterprise! Don’t forfeit the joy of your own commission striving for someone else’s.