The Staff That Sprouted
February 25 - Nº 56 Numbers 17; 20:1-13
To solve the issue of who should be the High Priest once for all, God instructed Moses to bring one leader from each of the twelve tribes to the Tabernacle. Aaron was invited as well to represent the Levites. Moses followed God’s instructions. He gave each of them a wooden staff with their name written on it. Then he placed the thirteen staffs in the Tabernacle near the Ark of the Covenant. The staff belonging to the man God chose to be the High Priest would miraculously come to life and sprout leaves. The next day, not only had Aaron’s staff sprouted, it had formed buds and blossoms, and it had produced almonds! The people could no longer complain that Moses had chosen Aaron for this important position just because they were brothers. Suddenly all the tribal leaders became very frightened. They thought God might punish them for questioning the man He had previously appointed through Moses. They were too afraid to come near the Tabernacle. God took this opportunity to explain that the job of the priests (led by Aaron) was to provide a way for the people to be forgiven for such sins through the sacrifices they could offer at the Tabernacle. He went into great detail describing the roles of the priests and the Levites. The grumbling stopped—at least for a little while. As they continued wandering, the older generation of Israelites began to die in the wilderness. Eventually, the younger generation returned to Kadesh. While they were there, Miriam died and was buried. Soon the new generation realized there was not enough water for all of them and their livestock. They began to complain to Moses and Aaron just as their parents had. Those who remembered their childhood as slaves longed to be back in Egypt. Some wished they could just go ahead and die and be buried with the older generation in the desert. Moses and Aaron went to the Tabernacle and cried out to God. The glory of the Lord appeared, and God told them to bring the staff that He had blessed to a certain rock. There, in front of the whole community, Moses was to speak to the rock and God would bring enough water out of it to satisfy everyone. However, instead of speaking to the rock, Moses spoke to the Israelites. He rebuked them and called them rebels. He claimed that he and Aaron would be the ones producing water from the rock. Then he hit the rock twice with the staff. Water gushed out and the people were happy. But God was not! Moses had disobeyed Him. Instead of relying on God, he had taken things into his own hands, calling attention to Aaron and himself rather than to God. Since they were leaders and had dishonored God in front of all the people, there were severe consequences. Moses and Aaron would no longer have the privilege of leading the nation of Israel into the Promised Land. Someone else would complete that task.
Has God placed you in a leadership role? Do you value the importance of that role? Do you understand the need for living up to a higher standard? Leadership brings with it awesome privileges—and greater consequences.