In Numbers 17 Paul is following God’s instructions to take a staff from a leader of each tribe with their names on them and place them in the tent of meeting so God can show the people who is chosen to be the priest. Not because they didn’t already know that Aaron was chosen, but because there had been a rebellion that actually started way back when Miriam & Aaron got jealous over Moses and challenged his position. God quickly put them in their place and they repented immediately when Miriam suddenly started showing signs of leprosy. In chapter 16 a Levite named Korah along with 2 other men started another rebellion with 250 prominent leaders of Israel. They accused Moses of appointing himself and they said “Everyone in the entire community is holy and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?” The response from Moses proved exactly why he was chosen by God. He fell facedown on the ground (because he was a very humble man) and he boldly told them “Tomorrow morning the Lord will reveal who belongs to Him”. At this point God wanted to destroy the entire community but Moses and Aaron pleaded with God, so he only destroyed the 250 leaders and all that belonged to them. Moses said to Korah and all of Israel. “This is how you will know that the Lord sent me… If the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all that belongs to them then you will know that these men have despised the Lord” Instantly the ground opened up and swallowed them all and their belongings. The people cried and fled in fear, but the next day the entire community complained against Moses and Aaron again accusing them of killing the Lord’s people. Once again, God was ready to destroy the entire community but Moses sent Aaron to quickly take his firepan of incense and make atonement for the people. A plague had already started among the people and by the time atonement was made 14, 700 of them died and the rest were spared because of the sacrifice made for them. This takes us to chapter 17 when God told them to bring the staffs in so he could show them who he had appointed. Moses had told them the one God chose would sprout. The next morning when they went back to the tent of meeting Aaron’s staff had not only sprouted leaves, but it sprouted flowers and almonds as well.
What I really pulled from this, first of all was the humility of Moses. His responses were always a posture of humility by getting facedown on the ground when he was accused. I don’t know about anyone else, but the response I get when falsely accused is usually defensive. I have to work hard to crucify my flesh to have a humble response. The next thing I noticed was that in his humility, Moses was not timid or quiet. He was actually very bold because at that point he had already humbled himself first. From the posture of humility, he was able to hear God, and God gave him the words to speak. What would happen if we responded out of humility first, and allowed God to speak to us? Moses spoke God’s words with boldness and authority and because the people were really rebelling against God, they recognized that authority they saw in Moses and rebelled against that too. They had no idea that through this whole ordeal Moses was the one pleading for their lives. We have all been on both sides of this so the bottom line here is that humility will keep our heads on straight so we can actually hear from God. Pride leads to rebellion and corrupted vision. Humility doesn’t mean timid. It is our posture before God so that we can lay aside our pride and our opinions to hear His voice and speak it out boldly and confidently.