Numbers 17

The people would not believe until it was too late the Lord’s warning that anyone other than Aaron’s line approaching the Tabernacle as a priest would die. They complained, they rebelled, and thus they died.

Following Korah’s rebellion which incited Israel to rush the Tabernacle, both of which events led to their deaths, God instructed each tribe to give Moses a rod from their homes. Moses was to put these before the ark of the covenant, and the rod that budded would indicate which tribe God chose to serve as priests.

Aaron’s rod not only budded but grew ripe almonds, and was placed in the ark. Thus the Lord indisputably proved that he chose Aaron as priest, putting down complaints that Moses exalted himself.

  1. The contrast between Moses and the people of Israel centered on believing obedience to the Word of the Lord.
  2. Disobedience to God’s Word is characterized by complaint, false assertions, rebellion, and death.
  3. God’s ordinances and institutions are not determined by majority vote but his declared will. Had occupying the priesthood been by ballot, the result would have been 11 to 1 in favor of the people and against the Lord.
  4. God’s ordinances and institutions are established for right living and worship, and are the way of life. The Levites camped around the Tabernacle, which rested in the center of the camp (8:18-19), thereby protecting the nation from drawing near and experiencing certain death. God’s people must not thus complain and rebel but obey, rejoice, and give thanks.
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