Power Plays

Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. 2 And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3 They 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?” (Numbers 16:1-3)

Chuck Colson, former White House aide once stated, “Power, privilege, position, prestige and parties —these are the perks of politics.” I have always felt most people who enter politics in the beginning do so for great reasons. They have a strong desire to make a difference in society. However, there are some who enter the arena of politics for many of the reasons Chuck Colson states. 

The opportunity to exercise power and to gain prestige brings its own rewards. Of course those who hold the power do not relinquish it readily, and those who crave power do not always use the most honest ways to gain it. The results often become power plays and they certainly can become very ugly. These power plays can take place not only in politics but also in various walks of life.

Korah is a great example of someone trying to make a power play. Korah was a Levite who had special responsibilities and privileges. However, like many who are prideful, this was not enough for him. He resented Moses’ authority, claiming everyone one is equal, therefore Moses had no right to exercise leadership over anyone else. Korah basically told Moses he believed Moses had overstepped his bounds and that all of Israel had been set apart by the Lord and He was with all of them. He asked Moses what right he had to think he was greater than anyone else. So Korah decided to begin a rebellion against Moses.

While Korah was correct in stating all of Israel had been set apart, he was forgetting the Lord chose Moses to lead the people. Korah and his friends were guilty of what they accused Moses…”they had gone too far”. While they were all set apart in one sense, they all had their roles to play in God’s divine plan for Israel. Korah was not satisfied with God’s plan but instead wanted to rise above their role while denying Moses the role God had given him. Moses had been selected by God to lead Israel and therefore was not to be subservient to Korah and his band of rebels.

Moses pointed out to Korah he was not rebelling against Moses but instead was rebelling against the Lord. This did not dissuade Korah and his rebels from trying the power play. In response, the Lord made it abundantly clear whom He had selected to lead the people. The Lord told Moses what to say to the congregation and as he finished speaking the earth opened up and swallowed Korah and all his family and belongings. The 250 rebels did not escape as the Lord consumed them with fire.

Sadly not ever power play is quickly put to rest. However, we must remember authority resides with the Lord and He delegates as He choses. So embrace what He graciously gives you and allow Him to choose the time and place to use you and avoid grasping for authority He hasn’t given. Otherwise, you may find yourselves in the shoes of Korah and his friends and be rebelling not against a man’s leadership, but instead against the Lord Himself.



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