A Sign to the Rebellious

Krista Williams

Day: 17 | Plan: Numbers

Today's Reading: Numbers 17

Numbers 17:10 (NIV) “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, 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.’”

There is always an enormous cost for sin. In Numbers 16, we read how Korah’s sin of selfish ambition and rebellion against Moses and Aaron cost him and others dearly. He and those who stood with him descended to their graves as the ground split open and swallowed them alive. Fire shot out from the Lord’s presence to consume the others who were guilty as they tried to flee.

Can you imagine witnessing such a shocking and terrifying scene?

After that, you would think the people would realize how dangerous and deadly it could be to rebel against the leaders God places in authority. Still, the very next day, the people continued grumbling. They blamed Moses and Aaron for the death of Korah and all who died.

When they assembled against Moses and Aaron a second time, God’s wrath spread through the camp again, this time in the form of a plague. Quickly, Moses and Aaron ran to intercede for the people and make atonement for their sin, stopping the plague before they all died.

Even though the plague had stopped, the problem had not.

Aaron’s divine appointment by God as high priest had been publicly challenged and his God-given authority was still being questioned. So God took immediate action to publicly settle the matter once and for all.

God instructed Moses to have the leaders of each tribe, including Aaron, write their names on their staffs and place them in the tabernacle overnight. God would indicate His choice of high priest by causing one staff to sprout.

The next morning, Aaron’s staff not only sprouted but it budded, blossomed and even produced ripe almonds! (Numbers 17:8) It was unquestionable. Aaron was God’s sovereign choice, and the evidence was overwhelming! As each leader retrieved his staff, God also made it clear He had not chosen any other leader.

The budding of Aaron’s staff was God’s way of silencing the people’s frequent grumbling and complaining against His chosen servants, Moses and Aaron. (Numbers 17:5) Aaron’s staff was to be kept as a sign to remind the people not to grumble or rebel against God. (Numbers 17:10)

Scripture is clear. When people grumble and complain it displeases the Lord and invites His judgment. (Numbers 11:1; 14:2, 11-12; James 5:9) Ultimately, all of our grumbling is a form of rebellion against God and His sovereign authority over our lives.

Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much since Moses’ day. A typical response to almost any and every difficult situation that arises at work, or church, or school, or in our families, is still the same … to grumble or complain. Discontentment often dominates. While we may not rebel or protest publicly, we often do in our hearts.

The budding of Aaron’s staff is a powerful reminder for us to put an end to our grumbling and trust God’s sovereign authority over our lives.

Prayer: Father, I confess there are situations in my life where I am tempted to grumble and complain. Thank You for this timely word to remind me to stop the rumblings of any grumblings before it even starts. Right now I bring those situations to You and ask for Your help to handle each one. Show me how to respond in a way that honors You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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