In the previous chapter we saw Korah and many others rebel against Aaron and Moses’s leadership. In this chapter we see God reaffirm his chosen high priest.
God instructs Moses to get a staff from each of the leaders of the tribes which had their name on it, among which was also Aaron’s staff. Moses was to place it in front of the tent of meeting where God would meet with Moses. We then read God say in verse 5 “The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.”
The next day the staff not only sprouts but has budded, blossomed and produced almonds. The staffs are brought out by Moses from the Lord’s presence to the Israelites and each man takes his own staff. But God instructs Moses to keep Aarons’s staff, He says “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the testimony, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me so that they will not die.”(verse 10)
There was no doubt with who God chose. Not only were the names of each of the leaders on the staff, which eliminated anyone claiming the wrong staff to belong to them. But we also see that no opportunity was given to argue about the sprouting that happened. There was more than just sprouting, it blossomed and bore fruit.
Life giving Power
A dead staff brought forth fruit. We see the Lord’s life-giving power here. If there is anything in your life in need of a breath of God’s life-giving power, be it a relationship, your ministry call, your job, your health, your heart for serving him or anything else. God has the power to blossom that which feels dead. When God intends, miracles happen. Trust in him, surrender it to him and commit that which is on your heart to Him.
God dislikes Grumbling
God wanted a stop to their grumbling. Note the wording in the verses above, God says that he will rid himself of the grumbling, when the Israelites were grumbling against Moses. The words and actions of the people might have been against Moses and Aaron, but God holds those grumblings as against Him as he was the one who placed Moses and Aaron in their roles to lead the people. Moses also treated it the same way.
Often when we come upon resistance or persecution of any kind, we want to take matters in our own hands. We saw Moses with humility and surrender taking it all to God. And from God’s words in this passage, we see that the people’s rebellion was indeed against Him.
These passages are also very convicting to any of us who felt the urge to grumble about our church leaders or any ministry leaders within our local church setting. A question to reflect on – If you have ever felt that you can do what they do (a leader in any capacity) or what is so special that they are given a specific role, ask yourself, where is that coming from or what is driving those thoughts?
Grumbling often reflects a rebellious, ungrateful heart. And a rebellious, ungrateful heart is not a surrendering one. A grumbling spirit keeps self-first, am I being satisfied, things are not happening my way, I am not getting enough importance. It always works opposite of trusting God, finding contentment in God and in His kingdom purposes.
Korah and the others wanted to be priests, they were envious of Moses and Aaron’s roles. They wanted to be priests for their own validation and self-importance. Being chosen by God is not about us. It is about Christ’s glory and His purposes bearing fruit in and through us.
The Lord called Aaron to be high priest, Moses to lead the people, the Levites to be responsible for all things related to the tabernacle. The people of various tribes were given land, animals, produce and they participated in the worship and a portion of those sacrifices were given to the Levites. Everyone had their position to fulfill as God chose.
With what God does in this passage we clearly see that he dislikes grumbling. It is a form of rebellion against God and his sovereign authority over our lives. Our typical response to a situation that we do not like is to grumble or complain. We may or may not verbalise it, but it sure is what we feel in our hearts. There will indeed be genuine situations that are not of God, and grumbling might feel justified but what does grumbling achieve in those situations. It does not bring about any change.
When the urge to grumble arises, pause and ask yourself, where is this coming from, question your motives and intent. And rather than grumbling, take it to the Lord in prayer. Our grumblings only serve to take our focus away from him and harden our hearts.
Forgive us Father when we presume to know it all, act for our own self interest and show a lack of trust in your sovereign will and rule. Help us Father to be humble in all situations and remember to bring them to you when we struggle with something. You are a wise and loving Father, who knows how best to do it all. May we rest in the knowledge of your faithfulness and the power of your care. Amen.