Monday, August 1, 2011

Who says Numbers is boring?

The mob is coming closer. They shake their fists and shout in an indiscernible roar of anger. Moses and Aaron stand alone in front of the tabernacle calling upon every ounce of their strength to stand their ground in the face of the angry throngs approaching them. They know that their only hope now is YHWH himself so, although their instincts told them otherwise, they fell on their faces before the tent of meeting begging God to stave off the impending disaster.
Among the shouts that were now drawing nearer they could just distinguish some of the accusations that were being hurled at them.
“You killed Korah!”
“Our son’s blood is on your heads!”
Moses and Aaron knew the truth of the matter, Korah and his son’s had rebelled and God swallowed them up in the earth to make an example of them. Now, what was supposed to put a fear of God in the hosts of Israel had only stirred them up to a more massive rebellion. The situation seemed beyond hope.
Now both Moses and Aaron could feel the sickening feeling in their stomachs as they sensed the wrath of God building in the tent behind them. Finally, it could no longer be contained and Moses looked up to see a wave of people falling dead. It started at the back of the mob and began rolling toward them, bodies falling like so many dominoes in a gust of wind.
Moses yelled at Aaron,
“Quick! Get the fire and the incense from the tabernacle and run out and make atonement for the people before YHWH slays them all!”
Aaron hurried to do as he was instructed and Moses watched as the wave of falling people and the lone figure bearing only a smoking censor rushed together toward the inevitable collision.
As Aaron pushed through the angry and now confused throngs, fear surged through his veins as he realized that he was rushing to make atonement for an undeserving and wicked people without an ounce of blood to shed on their behalf. He knew the law. The blood of an innocent must be shed for the sin of the people. And he wondered as he ran if it would be his own blood this time in the absence of a sheep or goat. But there was no time for second guessing now, his people were falling by the thousands and he must stop it no matter the cost. 
Finally the wave and the priest met and the wave stopped like a swell against the cliffs. The remaining people drew back from those who had fallen and there stood one man in the gap between 14,700 corpses and the remnant of the congregation who were now silenced in fear.
Having stopped the plague, Aaron slowly walked back to where Moses was standing and wondered to himself, “What kind of lamb could possibly be sacrificed take away the sin of these people and still allow his life to be spared?”

Based on Numbers 16:41-50.
Some interpretive liberties were taken, but I hope that you will not find it too far from the truth.