To Tell You the Truth (Numbers 16-17)

Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come!  Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness?  And now you also want to lord it over us! (Numbers 16:12-13)

Failing to accurately represent the whole truth is just as dishonest as telling a flat out lie.  In either case, the goal of dishonesty is manipulation.  One of the ways you can tell if you’re being manipulated is by the use of an emotional argument.

The emotional argument of Dathan and Abiram wasn’t founded on on fact – emotional arguments rarely are.  Instead they manipulated the truth to try and get what they wanted.  Moses, Egypt was a land of plenty.  We were satisfied there, and you led us away so that you could kill us here in the desert.

Nice try with the emotional plea, but it’s hardly true.  Let’s look at the facts of the situation:

  • Egypt had resources, but the Israelites weren’t free to partake in them – they were slaves.
  • Time and time again, the Lord provided food and water for the people in miraculous ways.
  • The only reason the Israelites weren’t going into the Promised Land anytime soon was because they doubted the Lord.
  • The only time when an Israelite was killed was when he or she challenged the Lord.

The Lord and Moses didn’t believe the emotional argument any more than we should believe emotional arguments.  Remember to look at the facts, and understand that people who are emotional in their pleas often aren’t capable of recounting the truth.

Lord, teach me to be discerning.  Give me wisdom and insight when I’m listening to a situation, and help me to separate the emotion of a situation from the facts of a situation.  Help me to stand for what’s true.

About Seth

Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.


  1. Maybe if the ground opened up and swallowed others of us who haven’t been truthful there would be less dishonesty.

  2. I’m afraid I would have never lasted past fifth grade after cheating on a math test but being swallowed up might have been a better option than my dads.

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