Wednesday after Exaudi
Scripture: Numbers 16:23-40 (NKJV)
23 So the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.'” 25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” 27 So they got away from around the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little children. 28 And Moses said: “By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 29 If these men die naturally like all men, or if they are visited by the common fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the LORD.”
31 Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. 33 So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 Then all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up also!” 35 And a fire came out from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense.
36 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 37 “Tell Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, to pick up the censers out of the blaze, for they are holy, and scatter the fire some distance away. 38 The censers of these men who sinned against their own souls, let them be made into hammered plates as a covering for the altar. Because they presented them before the LORD, therefore they are holy; and they shall be a sign to the children of Israel.” 39 So Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers, which those who were burned up had presented, and they were hammered out as a covering on the altar, 40 to be a memorial to the children of Israel that no outsider, who is not a descendant of Aaron, should come near to offer incense before the LORD, that he might not become like Korah and his companions, just as the LORD had said to him through Moses.
All things in the House of the Lord serve as memorials of God’s faithfulness. Following Korah’s rebellion, which God ended with a terrifying display of His wrath against sin, the bronze censers used for the rebels’ unholy purposes were reclaimed out of the ashes. God commanded that these censers be used for a holy purpose again. They were hammered into a covering for the altar of the tabernacle. The bronze covering on the altar would be a memorial of God’s unchanging condemnation of sin. At the same time, the altar itself–the place of sacrifice–was a memorial to God’s promise of forgiveness for the sake of the sacrifice that God would one day make for the sins of all people. For the sake of the Sacrificial Lamb, God’s Only-Begotten Son, Christ Jesus, those who believe would “not become like Korah and his companions,” but would receive forgiveness and life everlasting!
The things in the House of the Lord today also stand as memorials of God’s faithfulness to His people. The Crucifix testifies to the wrath of God against sin, and His mercy upon us in the One Who bore our sin for us. The Font is a memorial to the flood of God’s wrath against sin, and His gracious washing away of all sin from us. The Pulpit is like the front of the boat from which Jesus proclaimed Law and Gospel, repentance and faith. The Altar still stands as memorial of His sacrifice for us, from which He now gives His Flesh and Blood for the forgiveness of your sins and life everlasting!