July 8, 2019

God Validates Through Bringing the Dead to Life

Numbers 17

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Aaron's Staff Buds

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, and get from them staffs, one for each fathers' house, from all their chiefs according to their fathers' houses, twelve staffs. Write each man's name on his staff, and write Aaron's name on the staff of Levi. For there shall be one staff for the head of each fathers' house. Then you shall deposit them in the tent of meeting before the testimony, where I meet with you. And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout. Thus I will make to cease from me the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against you.” Moses spoke to the people of Israel. And all their chiefs gave him staffs, one for each chief, according to their fathers' houses, twelve staffs. And the staff of Aaron was among their staffs. And Moses deposited the staffs before the LORD in the tent of the testimony.

On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. Then Moses brought out all the staffs from before the LORD to all the people of Israel. And they looked, and each man took his staff. 10 And the LORD said to Moses, “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.” 11 Thus did Moses; as the LORD commanded him, so he did.

12 And the people of Israel said to Moses, “Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. 13 Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, shall die. Are we all to perish?”

God Validates Through Bringing the Dead to Life



Key Verse | Numbers 17:8

On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.

Bio | Lauren Heiser

Hello, my name is Lauren Heiser! I'm originally from Tucson, Arizona, and recently graduated from SMU here in Dallas.

I'm now in the Residency Program at Watermark, where I'm learning my Bible and serving with Watermark Urgent Care!

Random things I love include: Arizona monsoons, synchronized swimming, my two rescue Golden Retrievers, being discipled and making disciples, game nights, and gatherings of friends and family around a meal.

Central Truth

In the same way that God makes a dead rod come to life and validates one man, Jesus' victory over death validates all those who believe in Him.

Devotional | Numbers 17

One of the first questions I asked myself while reading this passage was, "What made Aaron so special?" I discovered there was actually nothing significant about Aaron's own abilities,...

One of the first questions I asked myself while reading this passage was, "What made Aaron so special?" I discovered there was actually nothing significant about Aaron's own abilities, prestige, or popularity.

Aaron and Moses were not without sin. Yet, for some reason, God chose them to lead His people and come before Him on their behalf. It then hit me—even in as critical of a time as this in Israel's history, God is showing us that He chooses to do extraordinary things through imperfect and ordinary people.

I love the imagery painted here of the lengths God goes to defend and validate Aaron. God is our Protector. It comforts me to know that, while the world chooses to elevate those who are right in its own eyes, God chooses to elevate the unlikely.

Jesus affirms this, "So the last will be first, and the first last." (Matthew 20:16) The Lord is not looking for the people who seem to be the "best" or have it all together. Instead, He uses people who realize their depravity and need for Him to come in and make something of their ashes.

Just as God could make a dead rod come to life and bear fruit, so He could choose Aaron's line to live lives of fruitful service in communion with Him. The fact that Aaron's dead rod produced fruit overnight is nothing short of miraculous.

Like the rod, we are unable to produce anything good in and of ourselves. It is Jesus' miraculous victory over death that validates us before the Lord and His Spirit poured out on us that continually produces fruit in our own lives. Neither our successes nor our shortcomings have any influence on how much God desires to use us for His kingdom. As Paul writes to the Corinthians, "But [the Lord] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you struggle to accept that the Lord has chosen you specifically? If so, why do you think that is?

2. Are there areas in your life in which you tend to rely on your own abilities to deliver you, rather than the Lord? 

3. What weaknesses in your life can you be glad about in light of the fact that the Lord's power is made perfect in weakness? (2 Corinthians 12:9)

11 Comments available

Jay Caruso 2 months ago

Wonderful breakdown of this chapter. My weaknesses our doing what even I can do give to my family what they want and act like is possible without issue regardless of the consequences. God is teaching me in this time to be more thoughtful when making decisions

greg jones 3 months ago

Great devotional this morning.

Trying to wrap my mind around 2 Corinthians 12:9, a verse many of us have read hundreds of times, and how that transfer actually happens. I usually just assume a verse like that is true of me because I believe the verse to be true.

One example of the process.

Empathy-the ability to connect with what someone else is feeling.

No empathy-the inability to connect with the feelings of others.

When the weakness of no empathy is turned into a strength it becomes the ability to see in myself what feelings I need to be connecting to.

Paul (no empathy for gentiles) becomes Paul the apostle to the gentiles.

Paul responding to what, gentiles see and feel, about his God and his religion, Paul’s empathy the gentile response are shared encounters.

Pharisee, gentile, sharing, Paul explains a mystery of God through his unlikely relationships.

Scott Jones 3 months ago

Hey, Lauren, just got back from a job in Tucson. Love the rows of old aircraft, the Sunny Daze Cafe, and the Silver Saddle Steakhouse. My Israeli friends call the Silver Saddle “ dinner and a show”. They love watching them grill steaks on the big mesquite grill in the middle of the room. The blooming of Aaron’s rod reminds me of a time I was in Israel when the almond trees were blossoming. Absolutely beautiful. Quite a contrast to the judgment hanging over the grumbling congregation.

Don Freeman 3 months ago

Amen

Michael Scaman 3 months ago

I would not have expected the people’s response.

“… And the people of Israel said to Moses, “Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, shall die. Are we all to perish?” …”

I would have expected a reaction of awe.

But it could be they were under conviction that they were habitual grumblers against God.

Michael Scaman 3 months ago

I often heard the 3 things in the Ark, but I never heard the explanation for Aaron’s rod being there particularly as a sign to rebels and to end grumbling.

“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”

Jonas Scott 3 months ago

Well in question number 3 I’m glad not being “politically correct” is my weakness. When people are offended it’s evidence to them they are resisting God. Like verse ten says it’s a sign for the rebels.

Sue Bohlin 3 months ago

Hi Lauren! Lovely devo, thank you!

I just love this miracle! The image of God causing beauty and fruitfulness to spring from a dead piece of wood—overnight, no less—is such a picture of what He does with every single one of us born “dead in our trespasses, [but He] made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5). And I love how He displays His Lordship over time in this story. Usually we are impatient with how slowly His clock seems to run, but today we see that He can speed up time just as well. I have seen Him put terminally ill believers on the “supersonic fast track,” delivering decades’ worth of spiritual growth and impact on other people in just a few months.

This speaks to me about the importance of trusting the Lord’s timing ALL the time, in ALL the people. Especially me.

Hope Harris 3 months ago

GM JTJ peeps,

I can imagine the night of waiting for those 12 men. The whole thing was out of their control and one by one they walk away with their rods.

The great I Am the one who set the earth in motion choose Aaron. He wasn’t perfect and had his own set of shortcomings. A few chapters earlier he was the one complaining with his sister.

I am reminded today that God uses imperfect people.

Lord I yield my life to you and purpose to let it honor and glorify you

Lindsey Driscoll 3 months ago

@Hugh Stevenson - great point about resentments towards leaders. Such a good reminder that input sinful nature submitting to anyone (ultimately submitting to God) is not our first choice. We see that with The Israelites as well with their “constant grumbling”. (17:5)

I see God using Aaron and Moses as leaders for Israel so that it may go well with them when they follow the Lord … hello… promised land!! But their sinful flesh makes them want to rebel and go their own way apart from the Lord, and the submitting to the authority placed over them.

Hugh Stephenson 3 months ago

GM Lauren. Love your pull that God goes to great lengths to validate Aaron.

I am circling back to authority. It’s easy for me to see thousands of years later that the Israelites were rebellious knuckle heads. What’s harder to see is how I am repeating their behavior today.

One easy answer is resentments. Since Kyle’s message on April 7th I have been confessing resentments in my nightly journal. I have been convicted that the list is long. Every day. In many cases the leaders God has put in my life are on the list, particularly in my work life. Also governmental leaders. Romans 13:1-7 convicts me.

What I have not done is pray for these people. Convicted again.

Adding a new prayer for the leaders in my life. May they be led by God Spirit. May I always submit to their authority and work to support them.

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