There Are Battles That Belong to the Lord

Luisa Collopy

Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 12, 2024
There Are Battles That Belong to the Lord

You don’t want to be counted among the casualties.

One of my guilty pleasures is reading Victorian romance novels. From time to time, I would read about noblemen-suitors fighting for either their or their lady’s honor in a duel. The gentlemen would set the time and the weapon to use—pistols or swords—and name their seconds. Sometimes, the duel would result in death. Other times, an injury, as one gentleman gives only a warning, sparing the life of the other.

The Challenge to Fight

There is a famous rebellion that happened in the wilderness. Korah, along with Dathan and Abiram and 250 men of renown, challenged Moses and Aaron’s leadership. Korah, the leader of the rebellion, was not satisfied with their service in the Tabernacle of the LORD and wanted to be elevated to priestly duties. He said, “For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” (Numbers 16:3). Moses, always thinking of God’s wrath against the grumblings and disobedience of Israel, immediately fell on his face. But he also gave a challenge to settle the matter: “In the morning the LORD will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him…Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; put fire in them and put incense on them before the LORD tomorrow, and the man whom the LORD chooses shall be the holy one” (vv.4-6).

Dispute to settle: Spiritual Leadership over Israel 

The duelists: Moses and Aaron, the accused, versus Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and 250 men of renown, the accusers

Time to meet: The next morning

Weapon choice: Censers with fire and incense

The battle in the wilderness may not seem as exciting as the duels during the Medieval Times and Victorian era, fought with swords, where you hear the clanging metal and see sparks flying as the weapons clash. Perhaps one of the duelists had an advantage and was first to draw blood, inciting the other to further anger. How about the gentlemen with the pistols, with their backs to each other, walking and slowly counting their paces until they can fire? We sometimes discover a cheater, a shot ringing even before the countdown is completed. 

You can read historical books to learn more about dueling. We know that in the olden days of kings and knights, these duels settled matters. The reasons may range from tarnished reputation and personal offense to betrayal and murder. It was also used to settle rights of land ownership.

Today, we settle legal matters in court or through mediation. There must be reasonable grounds for an accusation, with hard facts to prove the truth. In the case of Moses and Aaron, the LORD was their testimony.

The Day of the Battle

“So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation” (vv.18-19). 

What a sight it must have been when the morning came—all 252 men carrying their censers! Were the people looking forward to witnessing this event? Were they fearful of what was to come?

But what of the glory of the LORD appearing for them to see? When Moses came down from Mount Sinai after talking with God, the skin on his face was shining so that they were afraid to come near him (Exodus 34:29-30). Now the people were publicly witnessing the presence of God outside the guarded Tent of Meeting. Did they fear Him showing up? 

“And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, ‘Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment’” (Numbers 16:21). God’s judgment was coming swiftly! Hearing the words of God, Moses and Aaron quickly fell on their faces to do their usual intercessory: “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?” (v.22). Moses and Aaron were afraid of this happening because of the wicked men’s rebellion. Those who might have been persuaded to join them probably could still be saved by their cry!

This Battle Belonged to the Lord

“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Say to the congregation, Get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’ Then Mose rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spoke to the congregation, saying, ‘Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of their, lest you be swept away with all their sins.’ So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons and their little ones. And Moses said, ‘Hereby you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens up its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD.’ And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. And earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods” (vv.24-32).

We know of quicksand and how it can trap and kill. But we also have the “how to escape” videos when you are caught in one. The ground opening, swallowing very specific people and their belongings, bringing them straight to Sheol, “the land of gloom and darkness” where the dead are brought after they die, according to the Hebrew Bible, that was a supernatural occurrence. It happened because God said so. 

But God wasn’t done yet because there were more men to be dealt with: “And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men offering the incense” (v.35). The closest image for this event would be a mythical fire-breathing dragon or Superman using his heat vision to destroy the opposition.

There are battles that the Lord lets us fight on our own using His wisdom and guidance. But there are battles we face that clearly belong to the Lord. When an accuser does not stop and continues to block truth, God will move His chosen people out of harm’s way and delve out His harsh judgment. 

The Israelites, even after the show of God’s judgment on the wicked men, continued with their rebellion: “You have killed the people of the LORD,” they accused Moses and Aaron (v.41). God had enough of their bad attitudes and sent a plague that killed 14,700 more. If Moses hadn't ordered Aaron to make atonement for them, who knows how many more would have been added to the death list?

What are you facing today? Is there someone making your life more difficult, with accusations or rumors that are ruining your reputation? If you know you are in the right, just sit tight! Your patience will be rewarded by God with a surprising decision that will overturn the lies and shame your accuser. In fact, God will provide you with tangible proof that will quiet that person. Thank God for His hand upon you!

If you are the one hounding and destroying someone, stop and repent! Don’t be like Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and the 250 men who didn’t fear the Lord’s glory appearing to all. They didn’t turn away from their evil ways, so they had to be punished.

Finally, if you are a bystander and you are choosing to rebel like the wicked ones, stop and repent! Don’t be like the people of Israel, who didn’t learn any lesson from the ground opening and swallowing the wicked and the fire that consumed the 250 men. You don’t want to be counted among the casualties.

Again, there are battles that belong to the Lord!

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/gorodenkoff

Luisa Collopy is an author, speaker and a women’s Bible study teacher. She also produces Mula sa Puso (From the Heart) in Tagalog (her heart language), released on FEBC Philippines stations. Luisa loves spending time with her family over meals and karaoke!