Numbers 17:1-13


I.    God's proposal to end the strive for leadership.

A.  There will be twelve rods.

1.      Every tribe will have one rod.

2.   In Numbers 1, there is a list of the twelve tribes of Israel.

a.   Numbers 1:47-54 - The tribe of Levi is left out.

b.   Numbers 1:10 - The tribe of Joseph is divided into two parts.

1.      Ephraim.

2.      Manasseh.

c.   Since Levi will have one rod, the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh will be combined under the rod of Joseph.

3.   The names upon the rods.

a.   The names will be written by Moses.

b.   Every tribe will have their tribal fathers name.

c.   Aaron's name will be included along with the name of Levi.

1.      Aaron is a descendent of Kohath, the second son of Levi.

2.      He is not the natural head of the tribe.

3.      This will be a double approval by God.

4.      God will not only approve the tribe of Levi, but will also approve Aaron.

B.   What shall be done with the twelve rods.

1.      Moses shall lay them up before the Lord.f

2.   He shall place them in the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

3.   He shall place them before the "Testimony".

a.   The "Testimony" refers to the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments.

b.   Exodus 25:16 - Moses is commanded to put the "Testimony" into the ark, which is sometimes called the Ark of the Testimony.

c.   Moses will remove the mercy seat from the Ark of the Testimony, place the rods inside the Ark before the Testimony and replace the mercy seat.

4.   Exodus 25:22 - The place where God meets with Moses is above the mercy seat from between the two cherubims, which are upon the Testimony.

C.   The purpose of the rods.

1.   God will show whom He has chosen by causing the man's rod to blossom.

2.      This act will end forever the quarrel over who will lead Israel.

a.   Numbers 20:1-6 - When Israel ran out of water, they again murmured against Moses and Aaron.

b.   Numbers 21:5 - When Israel was discouraged because of the way, they murmured against Moses and Aaron and God sent fiery serpents among them.

c.   But never again do they threaten to take his leadership away.


II.   The result of the test.

A.  The results came soon.

1.      Tomorrow.

2.      Sometimes the results are a long time coming, but not in this case.

B.   All the rods were the same except Aaron's

1.      Every man looked on all the rods.

2.      Every man took his rod back home with him.

C.   Aaron's rod:

1.      Received approval by God.

a.   Budded - A promise of fruit a long time away.

b.   Bloomed blossoms -  A promise             of fruit in a short while.

c.   Brought forth almonds - A promise that Aaron is the fruit of the Lord now.

2.      Was taken back inside the Tabernacle before the Testimony.

a.   As a token against the rebels.  (When the blood was sprinkled every year on the mercy seat, the blood would also cover the rebellion of the people against God's chosen leadership.)

b.   Moses shall take away the murmuring, for he stood in the place of God before the rebels.


III. Verses 12,13 - The cry of Israel.

A.  A cry of despair.

1.      They have evidently realized their sinfulness.

2.      They have, for the time being, accepted the penalty of death upon them.

B.   A cry of remembrance of sin.

1.      They are remembering the sin of Korah just two days before.

2.      They are remembering the stench of burning flesh as God judged them.

3.      They seem to come to the place of being "lost".  They say there is no way to approach God.

C.   These verses are really the introduction to chapter 18.

1.   In chapter 18, God shows them the way to approach Him.

2.      This is truly God revealing Himself in judgment and mercy.