When the Ministry Becomes a Small Thing – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

When the Ministry Becomes a Small Thing


Numbers 16:9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?

Intro: One of the greatest traps of Satan is for a person involved in ministry to undervalue their role. When a person in ministry underestimates their role; their privilege, they are in serious danger of

The ministry involves a:

               A. Sovereign Placement…that the God of Israel hath…

                              1. Gershonites – 7,500 (Num. 3:22) dwindled down to 2,630 between 30 and 50

                              2. Kohathites – 8,600 (Num. 3:28) dwindled down to 2,750 between 30 and 50

                              3. Merarites – 6,200 (Num. 3:33) dwindled down to 3,200 between 30 and 50

Total: 8,350 compared to 603,550 men over the age of 20 in chapter 2:32, 33

               B. Separated People…separated you from the congregation of Israel…

  • Numbers 8:14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.

               C. Spiritual Priority…to bring you near to himself… (see verse 10)

  • Numbers 2:17 Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards.

               D. Serving Position…to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord…

               E. Significant Platform…to stand before the congregation to minister unto them.

When the ministry becomes a small thing, you’ll have…

I. Wrong Associates – vs. 1

Korah was a son of Levi – a Kohathite

The conversation that Moses had in verse 9 and 10 was to Korah – not to Dathan and Abiram

Moses was addressing Korah in 16.

God held the Levites to a higher standard.

Dathan and Abiram were sons of Reuben

SEE Reuben – Genesis 49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

Korah made a terrible mistake of forsaking the fellowship of fellow servants/ministers to hang out with Reuben.

Reuben was known for his strength, his dignity and his power, but lacked excellence because of his lack of purity and his integrity.

II. Wrong Assumptions – vs. 3

               A. About the man of God – …Ye take too much upon you…

               B. About the congregation – …seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them…

Notice Korah had nothing positive to say about Moses, and nothing negative to say about the congregation.

               C. About holiness – He was standing in a group of 250 rebels and professing holiness!

               D. About God – …and the Lord is among them…

               E. About authority – …wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?

III. Wrong Attacks – vs. 11

Where was Korah’s leadership in chapter 13 and 14?

Why didn’t he get these 250 princes to stand with Caleb and Joshua?

He obviously had leadership abilities, but where were they when Moses needed their help?

NOTE: He gathered a group of 250 princes in verse 2. So, he either had 250 individual conversations, or he delegated it. Either way, he had the skills and leadership to gather 250 men of renown, but only did it for himself.

He didn’t lift a finger to fight the Canaanites, but went the extra mile to fight the man of God.

               A. His Company – …both thou and all thy company are gathered together…

They were originally God’s company, but he made it HIS company.

They were Moses’ company, but he made them HIS company.

               B. His Conflict – …are gathered together against the Lord…

He went from serving God to serving himself.

He went from serving the people to serving himself.

               C. His Complaints – …that ye murmur against him?

IV. Wrong Attitude

               A. Toward the man of God – vs. 12 …we will not come up. Refused to obey their leader.

               B. Toward the will of God – vs. 13 …thou hast brought us up from the land of milk and honey to the wilderness

How backwards could you get?

They were IN the wilderness, trying to get TO the land of milk and honey.

They were 180 degrees out of kilter with what God was trying to do.

Conclusion: Moses on the other hand did not think the ministry was a small thing.

In the midst of rebellion, murmuring, confusion, judgment, surrounded by false accusations and conflict, notice a few of his godly leadership characteristics in this chapter.

               A. His Perspective – vs. 8-11

They were attacking Moses and Aaron but he defended God and Aaron; not himself.

               B. His Patience – (vs. 7, 16) he gave them the opportunity to sleep on it and repent

The first time they came up against him, he fell on his face – vs. 4

The second time they opposed him, he was very wroth – vs. 15

In spite of his anger, he gave them until the next day to make their decision.

They had all night to repent.

               C. His Praying – vs. 21, 22 They interceded for the congregation

Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before God multiple times in this chapter.

They intercede on behalf of a carnal bunch of people.

Somebody has to get ahold of God for the congregation.

               D. His Preaching – vs. 23-26 God told him what to say to the congregation and he said it

Even in the midst of rebellion, strife, controversy and chaos, Moses was still able to hear from God.

God was still talking to him and giving him messages and instruction and guidance.

               E. His Power – vs. 28-33 He asked God to do the impossible, and God did it

Ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works…not of mine own mind.

If God make a new thing… vs. 29

               F. His Protection – vs. 44-50 – He stood between the dead and the living

He put his own life in danger to save theirs.

God told him in verse 45 to get up from among the congregation, but he ran into the midst in verse 47.

True leaders will put themselves last in their love for the people of God.