In Numbers 16 we read about three fellows — Korah, Dathan and Abiram — who decide Moses and Aaron have to much authority and so they rebel. Moses instructs them to have their followers prepare incense burners to present before the Lord the next day. Aaron was to do the same.
The next day Korah, Dathan and Abiram, along with their families are standing apart from the other Isrealites. Suddenly,
“The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel. All the people around them fled when they heard their screams. “The earth will swallow us, too!” they cried. Then fire blazed forth from the LORD and burned up the 250 men who were offering incense. Numbers 16:32-35 (NLT)
God doesn’t appreciate rebellion!
Then something happens that surprises me.
And the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to pull all the incense burners from the fire, for they are holy.” Numbers 16:36-37 (NLT)
These men were rebels, they were defying God. Sure they presented incense to the Lord but their attitudes were terrible! They had been given a special place in the Lord’s service but they were not satisfied, they wanted more. Their “offering” was definitely presented with the wrong attitude. This wasn’t worship, they were trying to elevate themselves, not exalt God.
It makes me wonder about the judgments I make about the offerings of others to God. I see them through the lens of my opinion of the giver. Their faults, weaknesses, doctrinal misunderstandings and appearance guide my opinion. I probably can’t know their motives and it’s quite unlikely their sins are anywhere near those of Korah and his buddies.
I’m sure the motives behind the gift are important to God and he is able to make a perfect judgment about those. On the other hand, I have no right to judge the gift — it’s holy.