“Down They Went”
“The surging waters proceeded to cover them; down they went into the depths like a stone.”
WITH those words, Moses and the Israelites celebrated in song their deliverance through the Red Sea and the annihilation of their pursuing Egyptian enemy—Pharaoh and his military forces.—Exodus 15:4, 5.
For anyone witnessing that spectacular event, the lesson was unmistakable. No one can successfully challenge or resist Jehovah’s authority and live. Just a few months later, however, prominent Israelites—Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and 250 supporters—openly challenged the God-given authority of Moses and Aaron.—Numbers 16:1-3.
At Jehovah’s direction, Moses warned the Israelites to pull back from the tents of the rebels. Dathan and Abiram, flanked by members of their households, defiantly held their ground. Moses then announced that in His own way, Jehovah would make clear to the people that these men had “treated Jehovah disrespectfully.” At that point, Jehovah split open the ground beneath their feet. “So down they went, and all who belonged to them, alive into Sheol, and the earth went covering them over.” What about Korah and the other rebels? “A fire came out from Jehovah and proceeded to consume the two hundred and fifty men offering the incense.”—Numbers 16:23-35; 26:10.
Pharaoh and his forces, as well as those rebels in the wilderness, all perished because they failed to recognize Jehovah’s authority and his interest in the affairs of his people. It is urgent, therefore, that all who would see Jehovah’s protection in these critical days learn about and obey Jehovah as “the Most High” and “the Almighty One.” Doing so, they can take to heart Jehovah’s reassuring words: “A thousand will fall at your very side and ten thousand at your right hand; to you it will not come near. Only with your eyes will you look on and see the retribution itself of the wicked ones. Because you said: ‘Jehovah is my refuge,’ you have made the Most High himself your dwelling.”—Psalm 91:1, 7-9.