God had ordained that the theocratic church should exercise its outward priestly function through the family of Aaron’s that had been set apart for that purpose. unfortunately, Korah and the Levites in his company already possessed great privileges beyond those of the other tribes but were not satisfied. They desired to have the same prerogatives as the family of Aaron (Numbers 16:1-3). The Levites had already been appointed to the sacred service; therefore, for them to seek the priesthood also was a most scandalous presumption (v. 8-11). The rebellion was not against Aaron, but God (Ex. 16:8; 1 Sam. 8:7; Acts 5:3).
The Lord demonstrated His divine disapproval at the rebellion of Korah and his 250 followers by opening the earth and swallowing them (v. 29-35). Surprisingly, the next day, driven by unbelief and rebellion, the congregation again murmured against Moses showing the stubbornness of man against the judgments of God.
So, the Lord gave another miracle to show that Aaron and his descendants were the ones that were selected to serve before the Lord. “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” (Numbers 17:6). These rods were the official symbols of the tribal authority vested in the princes. Inasmuch as there was no prince to represent Levi, Moses inscribed the name of Aaron upon the rod for the tribe of Levi. Aaron alone should hold the high office to which he had been assigned. No other, even of the tribe of Levi, might aspire to that office.
These rods were laid in the tabernacle before the ark of the covenant overnight, and the next morning Aaron’s staff “had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds” (Numbers 17:8). And God commanded Moses to put Aaron’s staff inside the ark instructing, “This will put an end to their grumbling against me” (verse 10).
Here, was evidence of God’s pleasure. The staff that had been placed there for Aaron could not have received life, germinated, brought forth bud, flower, and mature fruit if God had not imparted to it life and miraculous growth. No one could doubt that a miracle had been performed. The people now realized that access to Jehovah, the privilege they had sought through Korah (ch. 16:3–5), might be theirs only through the mediatorship of those appointed by God.
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In His service,
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