Numbers 17

Numbers 17 has God making it even more obvious what His plan is for the leadership of His people.  God tells Moses to get a staff from the chief of each tribe – twelve staffs in all.  “Write each man’s name on his staff,  and write Aaron’s name on the staff of Levi”.  Remember that one of the twelve tribes had split in half so there are 12+the priestly tribe of Levi.  Moses collects the thirteen staffs and does as God instructs – “deposit them in the tent of meeting before the testimony”.

So Moses has thirteen staffs – or basically sticks that he takes to the tabernacle.  God says “the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout”.  Seems like a pretty clear outcome if one of the staffs sprouts.  God tells Moses that this is His plan to “make to cease from me the grumblings of the people”.  God is tired of the whining and complaining.  He is going to show them who he has selected to lead His people. “Moses deposited the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the testimony” and left them overnight.

The next day Moses returns to the tent and “the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds”.  This is more than just a sprouting staff.  Overnight it sprouts, buds, blossoms and even bears fruit.  God really makes it obvious that Aaron is His chosen leader to serve alongside Moses.  Moses brings the 13 staffs back to all the people to see.  The chiefs took their staff and examined it, but they all see that only Aaron’s staff sprouted.

God makes it clear that Moses was to “put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you may make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die”.  God wants to save His people from themselves.  He has Moses put the staff up as a sign for those who might forget who God’s selected leaders are.  God does have a plan.  He selected Moses and Aaron long before to lead His people.  But as is often the case, the people seem to miss that fact and want to do things their way.  God isn’t humored by that choice.  We need to understand God’s leadership plan and make sure we follow those He puts in place!


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