They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?” Numbers 16:3
Leadership in Christian communities has always been difficult!
There is some truth in what these people were saying, “the whole community is holy,” that is, set apart for God. We also find this in the New Testament. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9).
God has made us all holy and able to hear from him ourselves, but this doesn’t eliminate the need for leadership. We tend to think because we’re in relationship with God that we know his plans, and don’t have to submit to others or be tolerant of other ideas. The reality is that we don’t like others being in leadership over us, so we wonder about their motives and question their integrity.
Peter continues that God’s purposes in making us a holy nation is, “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). We aren’t a holy nation to eliminate leadership but rather to be witnesses to God’s character and carry out his mission in the world. It’s about God’s purposes, not ours.
It was the Levites who went too far (verse 7). The Lord had already made it clear that he had chosen Moses and Aaron for leadership responsibilities. In the rest of this chapter and the next God again clearly confirmed Moses and Aaron’s special roles but these Levites wouldn’t accept it and sadly experienced the consequences of their rebellion.