A Sweet Savor of Christ

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Occupation with Christ-that blessed Man in whom God finds His delight-will turn our hearts away from ourselves and send out a sweet savor of Christ. The more we are occupied with Him in all His beauties, His perfection, His glories, the more the sweet savor of His knowledge will flow from our lives as well.
Korah, a Levite, with two men of the tribe of Reuben had taken men and risen up against the leadership that God had appointed. The fact that their following included 250 princes of the assembly of the children of Israel, famous in the congregation and men of renown, seemed to give real weight to their complaints. They felt that Moses and Aaron were lifting themselves above the congregation and that all the congregation, every one of them, were holy and could come near to the holiest.
“Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? and He hath brought thee near to Him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? for which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord." Num. 16:9-119Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? 10And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? 11For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him? (Numbers 16:9‑11).
The way into the holiest was not yet opened as it is today. Only the priest could enter into the holiest, and to presume what God had not ordered was open rebellion. Also, they thereby sought to set aside the leadership that God had ordered. It was evident that it would result in serious confusion. The charge leveled at Moses and Aaron was that they had brought up the children of Israel to kill them in the wilderness. There was no recognition and brokenness about their own sin.
The result was a tremendous lesson engraved in the annals of time as to how God deals with challenges to His ordained and delegated authority. In no uncertain manner God spoke through the mouth of Moses, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the rebellious ones. They went down alive into the pit, not only themselves, but all that belonged to them. The only exception that we are told about is in Num. 26:1111Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not. (Numbers 26:11), "Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.”
Authority that God has given may err, as is the case with anything that is committed into the hands of man, but it in no way gives place to doing our own thing and refusing to recognize those in that place. Even the Lord Jesus, in speaking to His disciples, said, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." Matt. 23:2, 32Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. (Matthew 23:2‑3). Those men were the ones who were primarily responsible for the rejection of the Lord Jesus. Until the call came to come out of that system (Hebrews 13:1313Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. (Hebrews 13:13)), they were to recognize those in the position of authority—Moses's seat.
The day following Korah's rebellion and God's awful answer to it, there was general discontent. "All the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord." Again God's presence was manifested and the glory of the Lord appeared. God tells Moses and Aaron to get up from among the congregation so that He could consume them in a moment.
Moses does not respond to God, for he realizes how serious what the people were doing really was, but surely in the Spirit of Christ he intercedes for them. This was done simply by telling Aaron to take a censer and put fire therein from off the altar, for the sacrifice had been made. Then, putting on incense, Aaron ran into the midst of the congregation. Only thus was the plague stayed that had broken out.
“He shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil: and he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not." Lev. 16:12, 1312And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: 13And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: (Leviticus 16:12‑13).
What a lesson this is for our souls. Moses did not argue God's cause with the people to try to convince them of their wickedness. The sacrifice was on the altar and the fire from off the altar was put into the censer. Then it was the incense that caused the plague to stop. When there is a spirit of general discontent among God's people, our tendency often is to continue to press the truth that has certainly been ignored. But what will turn the tide and bring about an end to the plague of general discontent and murmuring that so consumes us is to give the sweet savor of Christ. That incense is figurative of all the sweet savor of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ's person that always goes up to God, both in His life and in His death.
R. Thonney