It was getting old marching across the wilderness, especially since God had just discolosed to them that they were not going to enter the promised land, but their children would. So, it is time to find a new leader, similar to what is happening right now in the house of representatives, and it seems like that decision to find a new leader met with a similar fate as to what is happening right now. Moses and Aaron twice lay on their faces to protect the people from the wrath of God, and God responds and only takes out those who created the disturbance. But boy what a scene was made from earthquakes swallowing up the tents of the rebel rousers to a plague that begins to take out the people. The next few chapters we see Moses work to consolidate his and Aaron’s calling as God’s chosen ones to lead the people.
Then Moses does something that excludes him from entering the promised land. Earlier it was the people of that generation who were excluded, but now Moses is. He tries to show his own power, especially in the face of all these doubts, by striking the rock as if his stricking the rock would bring water as opposed to God’s Word. God wanted the people to see that only by Moses speaking would water come, but Moses wanted to show that he had a role as well. That puts Moses and Aaron on the outs with God and they are not allowed to enter the promised land as a result. Miriam dies, Aarong dies, and a new day begins.
In I Corinthians Paul is also explaining how he has the right to be called an Apostle and the right to be considered as one chosen by God to carry out his purposes. It seems like a lot of people are looking to consolidate their calling and are trying to boost their pedigree as someone whom God can not only use but has chosen for this time and this place. Paul is one, although he says it does not matter whether it is him or Apollos, or any of the other Apostles. The key is that God is building but the individuals that he uses is not as important.