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Numbers 16:1–50 (LEB)

Korah, Dathan, and Abiram Rebel

16 Now Korah son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, the descendants of Reuben, took two hundred and fifty men from the Israelites, leaders of the community summoned from the assembly, renowned men, and they confronted Moses. They were assembled in front of Moses and Aaron, and they said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves! All of the community is holy, every one of them, and Yahweh is in their midst, so why do you raise yourselves over the assembly of Yahweh?”

When Moses heard this, he fell on his face. And he said to Korah and to his entire company, saying, “Tomorrow morning Yahweh will make known who is his and who is holy, and he will bring him near to him, whomever he chooses he will bring near to him. Do this: take for yourselves censers, Korah and all of your company; tomorrow put fire in them and place incense on them before Yahweh; the man whom Yahweh chooses will be the holy one. You take too much upon yourselves, sons of Levi!”

And Moses said to Korah, “Please listen, sons of Levi! Is it too little for you that the God of Israel set you apart from the community of Israel to allow you to approach him to do the work of the tabernacle of Yahweh, to stand before the community to serve them? 10 He has allowed you to approach him, you with all your brothers, the descendants of Levi, but yet you also seek the priesthood. 11 Therefore you and your company that has banded together against Yahweh. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?”

12 Moses sent to call for Dathan and Abiram son of Eliab, but they said, “We will not come! 13 Is it too little that you have brought us from a land that flows with milk and honey to kill us in the desert, and that you also appoint yourself as a ruler over us? 14 Surely, you have not brought us to a land that flows with milk and honey, and you have not given us the inheritance of fields and a vineyard. Will you gouge out the eyes of these men? We will not come!”

15 Then Moses became angry, and he said to Yahweh, “Do not notice their grain offering. I have not offered one donkey from them, and I have not mistreated one of them.” 16 And Moses said to Korah, “You and your entire company will be before Yahweh tomorrow, you and they and Aaron. 17 Each one take his censer, and put incense on it and you will present it before Yahweh, and each of you bring his censer, two hundred and fifty censers, you and Aaron, each his censer.” 18 So each of them took his censer, and they put fire on them, and they placed incense on them; they stood at the doorway of the tent of the assembly of Moses and Aaron. 19 And Korah summoned them, the entire community, by the doorway of the tent of assembly, and the glory of Yahweh appeared to all the community.

20 And Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from the midst of this community, that I can destroy them in a moment.” 22 And they fell on their faces, and they said, “God, God of the spirits of all flesh, will one man sin and you become angry toward the entire community?”

23 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the community, saying, ‘Move away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’ ” 25 So Moses stood up and went to Dathan and Abiram; the elders of Israel followed after him. 26 He said to the community, saying, “Please turn away from the tents of these wicked men, and do not touch anything that belongs to them, or you will be destroyed with all their sins.” 27 And so they moved away from around the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out standing at the doorway of their tents, with their wives, sons, and little children. 28 And Moses said, “In this you will know that Yahweh has sent me to do all these works; it is not from my heart. 29 If they die a natural death or if a natural fate is visited upon them, Yahweh has not sent me. 30 But if Yahweh creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up and all that belongs to them, and they go down alive to Sheol, and you will know that these men have despised Yahweh.”

31 And it happened, as soon as he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open. 32 The land opened its mouth and swallowed them up with their houses and every person that belonged to Korah and all the property. 33 They went down alive to Sheol, they and all that belonged to them, and the land covered over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 All Israel who were around them fled at their cry, because they said, “Lest the land swallow us up!” 35 And fire went out from Yahweh, and it consumed the two hundred and fifty men presenting the incense.

36 And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 37 “Say to Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, ‘Take out the censers from among the place of burning because they are sacred, and scatter the fire outside. 38 The censers of these who have sinned at the cost of their lives, let them be made into gilded leafing plating for the altar; because they presented them before Yahweh, they are holy; and they will be a sign for the Israelites.’ ” 39 Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers that the ones who were burned presented, and they hammered them out thinly as plating for the altar; 40 it was a memorial for the Israelites, so that no strange man who is not from the offspring of Aaron should approach the presence of Yahweh to burn a smoke offering; he will not be like Korah and his company, just as Yahweh had spoken to him by the hand of Moses.

The Israelites Grumble

41 The next day all the community of the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of Yahweh!” 42 Then, when the community had gathered against Moses and Aaron, they turned to the tent of assembly, and behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of Yahweh appeared. 43 And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of assembly, 44 and Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from the midst of this community, and I will finish them in an instant,” but they fell on their faces. 46 And Moses and Aaron said, “Take the censer, and put fire on it from the altar. Place incense on it, and bring it quickly to the community, and make atonement for them, because wrath went out from the presence of Yahweh, and a plague has begun.” 47 And so Aaron took it just as Moses had spoken, and he ran into the midst of the assembly, for behold, the plague had begun among the people; so he gave the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 He stood between the dead and between the living, and the plague was stopped. 49 Those who died by the plague were fourteen thousand seven hundred, besides those who died on account of Korah. 50 Then Aaron returned to Moses at the doorway of the tent of assembly, and the plague was stopped.

John 21:1–25 (LEB)

Jesus Appears to the Disciples in Galilee

21 After these things Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. Now he revealed himself​ in this way: Simon Peter and Thomas (who was called Didymus) and Nathanael from Cana in Galilee and the sons of Zebedee and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing!” They said to him, “We also are coming with you.” They went out and got into the boat, and during that night they caught nothing.

Now when it​ was already early morning, Jesus stood on the beach. However, the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish to eat, do you?​ They answered him, “No.” And he said to them, “Throw the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”​ So they threw it,​ and were no longer able to haul it in from the large number of the fish.

Then that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” So Simon Peter, when he​ heard that it was the Lord, tied around himself his outer garment (for he was naked) and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net of fish, because they were not far from the land, but about two hundred cubits away.

So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire laid there, and a fish lying on it,​ and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just now caught.” 11 So Simon Peter got into the boat​ and hauled the net to the land, full of large fish—one hundred fifty-three—and although there​ were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come, eat breakfast!” But none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they​ knew that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it​ to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he​ had been raised from the dead.

Peter Is Restored Three Times

15 Now when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs!” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Shepherd my sheep!” 17 He said to him a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed because he said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything! You know that I love you!” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep! 18 Truly, truly I say to you, when you were young, you tied your clothes​ around yourself and walked wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will tie you up and carry you where you do not want to go.​ 19 (Now he said this to indicate by what kind of death he would glorify God.) And after he​ had said this, he said to him, “Follow me!”

Peter and the Other Disciple Jesus Loved

20 Peter turned and​ saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them​ (who also leaned back on his chest at the dinner and said, “Lord, who is the one betraying you?”) 21 So when he​ saw this one, Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, but what about this one?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that​ to you? You follow me!” 23 So this saying went out to the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that​ to you?”

A Concluding Word of Testimony

24 This is the disciple who is testifying about these things, and who has written down these things. And we know that his testimony is true. 25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did, which—if they were written down one after the other—I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written.

Psalm 17:1–15 (LEB)

O Yahweh, hear a just cause.

Hear my cry; heed my prayer

I make without deceitful lips.

Let my vindication come forth from you;

let your eyes see fairness.

You have tried my heart;

you have examined me by night;

you have tested me; you found nothing.

I have decided that my mouth will not transgress.

As for the works of humankind,

by the word of your lips,

I have kept from the ways of the violent.

I have held my steps in your path

My feet will not slip.

As for me, I have called on you

because you will answer me, O God.

Incline your ear to me.

Hear my words.

Show wondrously your acts of loyal love,

O Savior of those who take refuge

at your right hand

from those who rise up against them.

Keep me as the apple of your eye.

Hide me in the shadow of your wings

from the presence of the wicked who destroy me,

those enemies against my life,

they that surround me.

10 They have shut off their calloused heart;

with their mouth they speak arrogantly.

11 Now they surround us at our every step.

They intend

to pin me to the ground.

12 He is like a lion; he longs to tear apart,

and like a strong lion crouching in hiding places.

13 Rise up, O Yahweh, confront him.

Make him bow down.

Rescue with your sword my life from the wicked,

14 from men by your hand, O Yahweh, from men of this world.

Their share is in this life, and you fill their stomach with your treasure.

They are satisfied with children.

They bequeath their excess to their children.

15 By contrast, I in righteousness shall see your face.

Upon awakening I will be satisfied seeing your form.

March 15

Every leader faces power struggles—from those who follow the leader and from those the leader follows. If there isn’t some sort of struggle, the leader probably isn’t doing his or her job well. It’s simple: those who make everyone happy probably aren’t pushing people to be better, and pushing will—at times—frustrate both the leaders and the followers.

Moses regularly experienced leadership struggles. In Numbers 16, Korah—accompanied by 250 men who were leaders in Israel—calls Moses and Aaron’s leadership into question, saying, “You take too much upon yourselves! All of the community is holy, every one of them, and Yahweh is in their midst, so why do you raise yourselves over the assembly of Yahweh?” (Num 16:3). They’re using Moses’ words, spoken on behalf of Yahweh, against him here: “you will belong to me as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exod 19:6). But they made one faulty assumption in doing so. Yahweh had prefaced these words by saying, “if you will carefully listen to my voice and keep my covenant, you will be a treasured possession for me out of all the peoples, for all the earth is mine, but …” and then He continued with the line Korah quoted (Exod 19:5–6).

Surely Moses knows this, and he is well aware of their folly. But rather than answering the fool according to his folly, he responds by prostrating himself—an act of worship toward God and humility toward those he serves: the people of Israel. He then says, “Tomorrow morning Yahweh will make known who is his and who is holy, and he will bring him near to him, whomever he chooses he will bring near to him” (Num 16:5). It appears that in that moment of prostration, Moses prayed and was immediately given an answer. He insists on bringing the matter before God Himself.

Moses could have defended himself by insisting upon the special nature by which God had revealed Himself to him. Or he could have noted to Korah that he is only out of Egypt—and thus able to call Moses into question—because Moses was obedient to God. He even could have noted that Korah was only in leadership at all because Moses listened to God and appointed him. But instead, he insisted on bringing it before God. He did, though, follow up by telling Korah that he had plenty of authority and shouldn’t be so greedy (Num 16:8–11).

This event demonstrates the kind of faith that we should all have in what God asks us to do.

How do you respond when people question what God has asked you to do? How can your response in the future be more like Moses’?

John D. Barry is the publisher of Lexham Press, general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary, and the previous editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. He is the author of The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, Cutting Ties with Darkness, and Letters to a Christian, as well as the coauthor of Mary: Devoted to God's Plan. John is also the author of Not Your Average Bible Study volumes on Malachi, Colossians, Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter, and the coauthor of a study on 2 Peter–Jude.

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord

Publisher: Lexham Press

Publication Date: 2012

This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.