The incense of prayers stops the plague

Numb.16: 47-48,47 Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.  

God lead the Israelites out of Egypt. It took 40 years for them to cross the wilderness to enter the promised land. Time and again the sins of Israelites caused the wrath of God come upon them as plagues and wiped off many from the face of the earth. Our Lord is merciful but when one grieves Him time and again, He judges and the plagues are the consequence of His judgements.

In this case, Korah, Dathan and Abiram rose up before Moses with 250 princess of assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown. They rose up against Moses and Aaron and said, Numb.16:3-4, “You [a]take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” So when Moses heard it, he fell on his face;” Note the ones who rose up against the God ordained leaders. They were princes, famous and men of renown. It’s good to serve the Lord but always out of a humble heart. When fame about the person being used starts spreading, the flesh being sinful by nature attracts pride and rebellious nature. Jesus, who was both man and God when he was on the earth, taught us how to overcome these. Lk.5:15-16, ‘However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.’ Jesus often withdrew Himself and prayed. In other words, frequent prayers enables us to open our spiritual eyes to watch over ourselves, in order to identify the slightest smell of sin that might creep into our hearts without even we realizing about it. Moses fell on his face as soon as he heard it, for he rightly sensed the seriousness of their sin. Instead of arguing with the rebels, he chose to pray for them. Prayers, frequent prayers and unceasing prayers are essential not only to stop a plague, but also to identify the reasons causing plague of sin attacking our hearts and to resist them at the right time.

Korah and his people challenged Moses and Aaron. They all appeared before the Lord. They took censers and put incense as directed by Moses and they all stood before the tabernacle of the congregation. Numb.16: 23-26, ‘23 So the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’ ” 25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” In v 21, God asked Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the congregation as He was about to consume them all in a moment. We ought to understand here that God hates sin to the extent that His judgement can destroy the entire mankind in a moment.  Moses and Aaron fell on their faces to plead saying, “why would the entire congregation be destroyed for one person’s sin.”  God asked Moses to separate the congregation from the tents of the wicked. Here, the wrath of God became less when Moses and Aaron pleaded for mercy. Now He agreed to destroy only the wicked souls and not the entire congregation. If we are safe from His judgements, it’s only because of His mercy, which shows up when intercessions are made . God warned the people not to even touch anything of theirs lest they be consumed in their sins. Only separation could protect the congregation. This is same when it comes to sin. It’s like the leaven or leprosy that spreads fast. Unless we are determined to separate ourselves from sin, it can drag us into its snare and its devastating consequences.

Numb.16:46, ‘So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make [a]atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun.”’ 

God consumed the lives who sinned. But murmuring of the congregation did not stop. The next day, the congregation again murmured against Moses and Aaron saying that they had killed the people. Now nothing could stop the Lord from outpouring His wrath. But Moses could not stand and watch the scene silently. This time he did not plead with human words. He asked Aaron to take a censer and put fire from the altar and the incense on it. Ex.30:7-8, ‘“Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps [b]at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.’ Burning of incense in the tabernacle of the Lord was important and it referred to the prayers and intercessions. Moses had pleaded to the Lord for the lives of the Israelites earlier. But now, he asked Aaron to burn the incense on the fire taken from the altar. Fire often refers to the Spirit of God in the Bible.The apostles and disciples were filled with the spirit of God in the book of Acts and tongues of fire were seen upon each of them (Acts 2:1-3). Paul has written about praying in Spirit in his epistles. (1 Cor.14:14-15). At times, when the overwhelming situation comes, we do not know how to pray in the right words. But when we surrender ourselves and cry out to God from the depth of our heart, the Spirit of the Lord makes intercession for us on our behalf.  Rom.8:26, ‘Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession [g]for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.’ Such intercessions are made according to the will of God by the Spirit of God. And such are often answered in a mighty way.

Aaron did as he was instructed by Moses. He stood between the living and the dead. The plague had stopped. Today we do not know how to pray when we are overwhelmed by the situations happening all around. May we seek His wisdom and strength to intercede as per His will. May we seek His anointment so that we are able to pray in Spirit. May our prayers be answered and His name be glorified.

 God bless us all




The incense of prayers stops the plague

Numb.16: 47-48, ‘47 Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.   God lead the Israelites out of Egypt. […]

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