Wonderful audacity! Yesterday they fled in terror while they saw the earth open and swallow up the rebels, and now they, themselves, break out into revolt, and charge Moses with murdering those whom the Lord, himself, so justly executed. Is there any bound to human sin? Lions and tigers may be tamed, but man breaks off from all restraint, and follows his own devices, despite every warning and instruction.
Numbers 16:44, 45
This was the second time in which the Lord had spoken thus to his servants, and a second time they fall upon their faces in reverent but earnest intercession. They pleaded for those very people who were up in arms against them; such is the true love of God’s ministers. Never will they give sinners up while they have breath in their bodies.
His spiritual soul could see what others could not, for he perceived that danger was near. Those who have had communion with God possess a sensitiveness unknown to others. Moses bade Aaron hasten, and, indeed when men are dying, we must make no delay in our efforts to save them. Lord, help us to fly on the wings of love.
He stood as a champion, blocking the pathway of the destroyer. He came to the front of the danger, as though he would either die with the people, or else if he lived, they should live. Was it not bravely and kindly done of Aaron thus to stand in the gap for his enemies? What a noble type he was of the Lord Jesus, who interposed on our behalf!
Who slew all these? Or rather, what slew them? Was it not sin which is a murderer from the beginning? Sin will slay us also unless we are sheltered behind our great High Priest.
By such a terrible event of judgment, and such a wonderful miracle of mercy connected with Aaron’s priesthood, one would think that the question of his right to the sacred office would be settled for ever beyond all dispute, and yet it was not so. How set on mischief sinners are! Sin is ingrained in our very nature. Alas! alas! Let us, by faith, see our Lord Jesus standing between his living people and dead souls, waving his censer, and keeping off death from all his believing ones. He is our shield from the destroying plague of sin and all the powers of evil. His sacred person bars the way. Vengeance cannot smite those to whom the Lord’s Anointed is a shield. Happy they who have Jesus to stand before them. On one side all is ruin, on the other all is safely. On which side of Jesus are we at this hour? Are we with the living in him, or are we numbered with those who are without him, and consequently are condemned already? Lord save us, or we perish.
Jesus the merciful and true,
Between the dead and living stand;
The numerous dead, the living few,
Who now divide this sinful land.
Now in our midst, great Priest, appear,
For sin thou hast atonement made,
Present the incense of thy prayer,
And let the plague of sin be stayed.