"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

NUMBERS – From SINAI To The PROMISED LAND: Chapters 17

NUMBERS – From SINAI To The PROMISED LAND: Chapters 17

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Complete Study of Numbers by pastor Chuck Smith

NUMBERS 17: “THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROD” – by Albert Lopez

INTRODUCTION: Have you ever been on the wrong side of something? Like if you’re playing basketball or football and your team loses. You probably don’t like the feeling of losing specially if maybe you had a chance to win if you had only done this or maybe not this. Passed the ball at this time or shot the ball at this time. Many scenarios might play out, but the outcome was still the same you were on the wrong side of the scoreboard. You lost.

Then there is another outcome you are on the winning side at times. You end up on the right side of something. You followed the game plan. You stuck to it and so did your team. Everything turned out the way you planned, and you got the win.

Some of you may not be able to relate to sports but maybe you can remember a time when you and your siblings did something wrong or disobedient. Travesuras and you were the one who got in trouble or got the worst of the punishment. You were probably supposed to be the example if you are the oldest but instead failed miserably and went along with this misbehavior. You got into mischief, and you paid for it. You were on the wrong side or picked the wrong side

Then there were times maybe you can remember where you remember watching your sibling get into trouble and were witness to the punishment that was handed out. You were on the right side, and you hoped there was something that you can do to get them out of the punishment, but it was too late the chancla or the cinto was out and it was going to be used.

Not exactly the same thing but we can say that Aaron experienced what it was to be on the losing or disobedient side even rebellious side. He probably remembered the disappointment in Moses his brother’s eyes.

Most of all he probably also remembered how he helped in the corruption or defilement of the people when he made them a Golden Calf. If that wasn’t enough, he made them an altar for the Golden Calf. Then made a foolish proclamation saying that “tomorrow shall be the feast for the Lord”.

It was foolish because the people had been referring to the Golden Calf as their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt. This was the beginnings of the Idolatry that would follow God’s people and God would discipline them as we read throughout the bible. This was an example of how Aaron was on the wrong side of the rod and was witness to God disciplining the people’s disobedience that he was a part of. He however was spared, and we can see that God sparing him allowed him to be on the right side of the rod later on.

The time that Aaron ended up on the right side of the rod he took godly council which came from his brother Moses.

NUMBERS 16:47-48
Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the LORD, the plague has begun!” 47 Then Aaron took it as Moses had spoken, and an into the midst of the assembly, for behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 He took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked
.

This situation an event leads us to Where God gives instructions and commands to Moses to show that Aaron is his man that he has appointed to the priesthood. Not only the priesthood but he would be the High-Priest.

This High Priest would be a picture of the Ultimate High- Priest our Lord Jesus.

HEBREWS 2:17
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people
.
Jesus unlike Aaron was not going to sacrifice for the people’s sins to cover the people’s sins. No! Jesus would become God’s perfect sacrifice who would need to be sacrificed once and that would not cover sin but take away sin and make propitiation for everyone who puts their trust in Jesus for salvation.

NUMBERS 17:1-3
1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father's house, all their leaders according to their fathers' houses-twelve rods. Write each man's name on his rod. 3 "And you shall write Aaron's name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father's house
.

VERSE 1-2: A rod for each father’s household; twelve rods- These sticks of wood were to bear the names of the 12 tribes.

VERSE 3: Write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi- Unlike the other rod’s the tribe of Levi’s representative was already chosen. It was not only already chosen but the Lord had chosen him as we will read later on.

These shows us that no matter what other’s around us might think or say if the Lord calls you than he will equip you and qualify you and keep you. The most important place in the Christian’s life is the place of God’s choice, the place He’s prepared for us and prepared us to fill. The important thing isn’t status but faithfulness, doing the work God wants us to do. Every member of the church, the body of Christ, has a spiritual gift to be used for serving others, and therefore every member is important to God and to the church. This is all according to His will.

So just like Aaron was set apart by the Lord to carry out the duties of the Priesthood with a budded rod we see in the bible how the Lord will take 2 rods and make 1 rod out of them. These rods represent the split kingdoms of Israel.
EZEKIEL 37:15-23
The word of the LORD came again to me saying, 16 “And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’ 17 Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. 18 When the sons of your people speak to you saying, ‘Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?’ 19 say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”’ 20 The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. 21 Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their [g]dwelling places in which they have sinned and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God
.
They will be one in my hand- God will bring unity to his people Israel that’s a promise. Furthermore, he will take the gentiles- the non-jew and the jew and make them one people. We are all one under Christ. There will be neither Jew nor Greek.

NUMBERS 17:4-7
4Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you. 5 "And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom; thus I will rid Myself of the complaints of the children of Israel, which they make against you." 6 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; and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. 7 And Moses placed the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness
.

Similar to the tests that Moses had for Korah and the rebels that wanted to usurp the priesthood this one would also serve the purpose of letting everyone know who was God’s man or men.

VERSE 4: You shall then deposit them (rods) in the tent of meeting.

Like the situation with Korah’s rebellion in the previous chapter where Korah and the rebels stood as priests to see if they would be able to continue to stand as Priest in the eyes of God, you have these rods left for God to chose and make it known to the people whom He has chosen.

VERSE 5: The rod of the man whom I chose will sprout

So, this choosing would be identified by something supernatural. The rod that was chosen would have a clear sign that this is the rod. No question about it. In turn this would mean this is the man God has appointed.

This reminds me of how John was given this insight as to how to recognize the Messiah

JOHN 1:32-33
John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.

VERSE 5 cont’d: I will lessen from upon Myself the grumblings of the sons of Israel. Who are grumbling against you. (I will rid myself of the complaints) Why does Moses get a bigger piece of cake than the rest of us?? In a matter of speaking. They still got cake probably the same size but, in their eyes, it wasn’t big enough!

The purpose: God always has a purpose for doing the supernatural and we see throughout the bible that it was to show himself mighty and powerful and bring a fear that only God can bring. This was where the people would know that it was only God who could have done this.

VERSE 7: Deposited the rods before the Lord: This is why Moses was so favored by the Lord. He brought everything before God. Every situation Every rebellion, Every victory, Every need. Moses went to the one who knew it all, could do it all and would ultimately get the Glory for it all through the worship He rightfully deserves.

Not only did he bring it before the Lord, but he did it with the right posture. He bowed his heart, and he bowed his face. He fell on his face.

How are we doing in following Moses’s example? Can we say that we are bringing everything before God in prayer or are we quick to try to think of ways to get things done our way? Is our attitude one of humility knowing that we are clay pots and God is the potter? Make me and mold me that is what I pray. Is this your prayer?

NUMBERS 17:8
Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds
.

The rod of Aaron…had sprouted and put forth buds, produced blossoms and bore ripe almonds. This showed that it was undeniable that God had chosen Aaron to be the High Priest. Aaron’s rod was impressive it produced life as we are reading here. However….

Jesus is undeniably the Greatest High Priest. Just like Aaron’s rod would lead the people, Jesus is said to rule with a rod of Iron. Aaron’s rod sprouted and put forth these things but Jesus as High Priest is above Aaron and anyone else. Jesus’s rod would bring forth what we read about earlier: merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Jesus would take people who are dead in trespasses or sins and give them life simply because he not only like Aaron’s rod produces life, but He is also the source of Life.

NUMBERS 17:9
Then Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD to all the children of Israel; and they looked, and each man took his rod. Moses brought the rods to the sons of Israel
:

This was Moses saying I didn’t have any part in this except following the instructions of the one that you would do well to put two ears to.

They looked and each man took his rod:

Seeing is believing, right? Now everyone can see Moses is showing them the results. God’s man was not who the people thought he was nor the man that they wanted. Nevertheless, God has the final say!

Based on the heart of these people and the motivation behind the grumblings or complaining you might have heard among the ones that took their unchosen staff; my staff is just as good it just doesn’t have what Aarons has.

We need to be careful with this type of misguided and wrong ambition. God might expose us as he is doing here and how he rejected the self-appointed priests.

“Never follow a leader until you see the anointing oil on his head.”
                                                                            ~ A.W. TOZER

NUMBERS 17:10 -13
10 And the LORD said to Moses, "Bring Aaron's rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die." 11 Thus did Moses; just as the LORD had commanded him, so he did. 12 So the children of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, "Surely we die, we perish, we all perish! 13 "Whoever even comes near the tabernacle of the LORD must die. Shall we all utterly die?
VERSE 10: So that they will not die: God was putting along with the law and the manna the rod of Aaron to remind the people and to keep them from dying. This was going to be in the ark of the covenant
.

Jesus was going to fulfill the Law, be the bread that descended from heaven and be the Great High priest who intercedes on behalf of anyone who trusts in Him. All this while giving everlasting life which would keep anyone from dying eternally who would trust in His work at the cross.

VERSES 12-13: Behold we perish, we are dying, we are all dying. Are we to perish completely?

The people instead of having a renewed confidence and trust in their God and whom He had appointed to be leaders over them were again thinking of themselves! Believers must constantly be aware of temptations from the world, the flesh and the devil.

It came down to this: The nation beheld God’s acts, but Moses understood God’s ways.

PSALM 103:7
He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.


Carnally minded people can’t perceive the spiritual meaning of what God does because they lack spiritual discernment. This is why the rebels of Israel thought they knew better than Moses and ultimately God.

May we not only behold God’s acts but let us also know and follow God’s ways. It’s great to know the Bible but it is also just as important to know the God of the Bible in an intimate way like Moses did.

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