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Text Sermons : ~Other Speakers S-Z : George Warnock : Aaron’s Rod That Budded

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A controversy had arisen in Israel over the authority of God’s priests. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, along with certain others, rose up against Moses and Aaron and charged that they were exalting themselves above the others by keeping the priesthood to themselves. It is awesome how God vindicated His chosen ones; for the very ground next to the Tabernacle opened up and swallowed the gainsayers alive into the pit of Sheol. The next day the people went on murmuring, complaining that Moses and Aaron had slain the Lord’s people. Then God sent a great plague, which was removed only when Aaron ran into their midst with a burning censer, and stood between the living and the dead.

God always vindicates His own in one way or another. But they must not seek to vindicate themselves, as they do so often. Not so in the case of Moses and Aaron. They fell on their faces before God when they were challenged, and God came forth on their behalf. Not only so, but when the plague fell on the murmurers they sought God on their behalf, as true priests of God, and stood between the living and the dead with the burning censer. In type they were saying, "Lord, if our life is unto You as sweet incense, then hear our prayer, and lay not this sin to their charge." God gives authority to His servants who least desire it, and there is no need on their part to try to maintain it. They did not seek it in the first place, then why should they try to uphold it? Invariably, we have observed, when men try to grasp authority or to maintain the authority they have, they lose it. If God gives it, then it is His responsibility to stand behind His chosen ones.

To settle the whole matter Moses ordained that each of the tribes present their "rod" before the Lord. Each rod was a dead, dry stick. Their name was to be clearly marked on the rod, and the rod of Aaron was placed among them. They were all laid together before the ark of the covenant, and the next morning they were brought out and presented to the people. All the rods were the same as before, except Aaron’s. Overnight it had brought forth buds, blossoms, and almonds. (See Num. 17:7-10.) (And let this be a reminder to God’s people who seem to have the notion that God must have years and years and years to bring forth this glorious and fruitful Church that He has promised. He can do it overnight if He chooses to do so!)

The word "almond" means "awaker," because it is one of the first trees to bud in the time of spring. It speaks of Christ in resurrection life, the firstfruits unto God, risen and glorified at God’s right hand. But it also speaks of resurrection life revealed in the mortal flesh of His people--in such as are planted together with Him in His death. You will recall how Aaron’s rod was used to swallow up the rods of the magicians in Egypt, and then it became an ordinary stick again in his hands. Death is to be swallowed up in life. Just overnight it became a fruitful branch, and brought forth almonds!

"O death, where is thy sting?

O grave, where is thy victory?"

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