Numbers 17

Fruitfulness is the best evidence of a divine call. The plants of God’s setting will flourish.

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of their fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man’s name upon his rod.

3 And thou shalt write Aaron’s name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers.

4 And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you.

5 And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.

6 ¶ And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods.

7 And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness.

8 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

9 And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod.

10 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.

11 And Moses did so: as the LORD commanded him, so did he.

12 And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish.

13 Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?

Numbers 17:1-13 – The Budding of Aaron’s Rod

   The controversy about the priesthood needed authoritative settlement, and to remove all grounds of dissension a notable sign was wrought on Aaron’s rod. “The man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom” (Numbers 17:5). This is an eternal principle. There is an indissoluble connection between God’s choice and our fruitfulness. “I have chosen you, and ordained you,” said our Lord (John 15:16), “that ye should go and bring forth fruit.”
   In the Epistle to the Hebrews we learn that Aaron’s budding rod symbolized our Lord’s unwithering priesthood. See Hebrews 7:24. He seemed as a root out of the dry ground; but in the grave the rod of Jesse began to bud and blossom and bear fruit. We may seem to be mere bare rods, but if we become united to Christ by a living faith we shall partake of His strength and beauty. “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27). “From me is thy fruit found” (Hosea 14:8). —Through the Bible Day by Day

Numbers 17:5—The man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom.

   There was deep significance in this method of indicating the man of God’s choice. Too many have taken God’s election as referring exclusively to their enjoyment of God’s grace and their preservation to His heavenly kingdom. Here we are taught that one of its chief results will be, and must be—buds, blossoms, and fruit. “The rod of Aaron… budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds” (Numbers 17:8). It would almost seem that spring, summer, and autumn; the promise, maturity, and fruit—were simultaneously present in that marvellous rod. So should it be in those who have been chosen in Christ to be holy.
   The bud of spring.—There is a perennial freshness in the true saint. He may be old in years, but his leaf is green with vernal tenderness, and there are the budding promises of richer and better things than he has yet attained. The youths faint, and are weary; but he renews his strength. The outward man decayeth, but the inward renews his youth like an eagle’s.
   The blossom of early summer.—There is exquisite beauty in the blossom of orchard and garden. No painter has ever yet learned God’s secret of mixing His colors. Such is the beauty of the character of the believer. Men say involuntarily, “How attractive, how beautiful!”
   The fruit of autumn.—That we should bear fruit is the end of Christ in our redemption and discipline. We can only do it in fellowship with Himself. He must bear it through us. “From me is thy fruit found” (Hosea 14:8). “I have chosen you… that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). —Our Daily Homily