Thursday after Reminiscere
Scripture: Numbers 17:1-13 (NKJV)
1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses—twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod. 3 And you shall write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father’s house. 4 Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you. 5 And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom; thus I will rid Myself of the complaints of the children of Israel, which they make against you.”
6 So Moses spoke to the children of Israel, and each of their leaders gave him a rod apiece, for each leader according to their fathers’ houses, twelve rods; and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. 7 And Moses placed the rods before the Lord in the tabernacle of witness.
8 Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds. 9 Then Moses brought out all the rods from before the Lord to all the children of Israel; and they looked, and each man took his rod.
10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die.” 11Thus did Moses; just as the Lord had commanded him, so he did.
12 So the children of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, “Surely we die, we perish, we all perish! 13 Whoever even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord must die. Shall we all utterly die?”
This entire chapter is dedicated to confirming the priesthood of Aaron. Why confirm what was already known? The doubting, unbelief, and outward rebellion of the Israelites was becoming a plague in its own right. It was threatening the leaders, Moses and Aaron, and dooming the people to destruction: “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die'” (v. 10). And so, to spare God’s appointed servants as well as those whom they served, God set up a very unique test that would set Aaron above all the rivals.
There was nothing special or unique about the rods that were brought forth, other than to have tribal names inscribed to attach ownership. All were mere wood—and all were fully dead. Nothing should’ve happened as the twelve rods were placed in the tabernacle. And yet, Aaron’s rod produced life: “Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds” (v. 8). Note that not only life was brought forth from death, but abundant life: sprouts, buds, and almonds. There was nothing special in the rod or the man it belonged to, so it was clear that the miracle could only be ascribed to the work of Almighty God.
Prayer: Dear Lord, open our hearts and minds to see Your miraculous providence at work, as You provide daily bread for our bodies as well as our souls. Amen.