Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XVI - Blessing By Heeding God's Supernatural Evidence Regarding His Appointed Leaders
(Numbers 16:41-17:13)
  1. Introduction
    1. Though many believers wish to follow those leaders who are truly called of God to lead them, people can DOUBT IF a given leader is really called of God to lead or IF he is functioning in God's will.
    2. This can create disunity problems that harm the whole church, compare Hebrews 13:17.
    3. This challenge arose in ancient Israel, and how God dealt with it provides instructive lessons for us today:
  2. Blessing By Heeding God's Supernatural Evidence Regarding His Appointed Leaders
    1. The day after God punished those who rebelled against the leadership of Moses and Aaron in Numbers 16:1-40, the people complained Moses and Aaron had unjustly slain the people of the Lord, Num. 16:41.
    2. So outrageous was this complaint in view of God's obvious judgment the previous day that God urged Moses and Aaron to separate from the congregation so He might instantly slay them, Numbers 16:42-45b.
    3. Meekly, Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the Lord in grief over the whole situation, 16:45c.
    4. Aware that God's wrath had already begun to slay members of the congregation, Moses urged Aaron to take a censer and offer up incense unto the Lord to appease His wrath against the people, Numbers 16:46.
    5. Aaron did so, standing between the living and the dead, and the Lord's wrath was appeased (after 14,700 people had died besides all who died in the former day's judgment of Korah's rebellion), Num. 16:47-50.
    6. By now, the repeated complaints against these men had begun to affect God's purposes in Israel, 17:5b, c:
      1. God desired to end the complaints of the people against Moses and Aaron, Numbers 17:5c.
      2. He did so because these complaints actually were directed against God and His use of these men, and that conflicted with God's will for the ministries of these men in the nation Israel, Numbers 17:5b.
    7. Thus, God gave a supernatural evidence test to validate unto Israel Aaron's God-assigned role, 17:1-5a:
      1. God had each tribal leader and Aaron take his respective walking stick & write his name on it, 17:1-3.
      2. Then, each man's rod was laid up before the ark of the testimony in the tabernacle's Holiest of Holies by Aaron where God could supernaturally indicate just who would be His chief leader, Num. 17:4.
      3. The man's whose rod blossomed would be the one all would know was God's chief leader, 17:5a.
    8. In the test, only Aaron's rod had not only budded, but also produced almonds, and all in a single NIGHT, Num. 17:6-8. Surveying how almonds grow reveals this to be an obvious miracle:
      1. I worked in almond orchards in high school, and recall that almond trees blossom in January long before the tree or anything else, including the orchard grass, sprouts green leaves.
      2. Then, by the following September, the almonds have not only formed but ripened for harvest.
      3. Thus, what naturally takes 8 months had occurred in a single night, a true miracle, Num. 17:8!
    9. Consequently, when Moses brought out the rods with each man's name on it, the people realized they had stepped way out of line in questioning Aaron's headship, and feared they would all die, 17:9, 11-13.
    10. God then had Moses take Aaron's blossomed and almond-bearing rod and place it back in the ark of the covenant. There it served as a witness against the people for their rebellion against God in their complaining against His chosen leader, Aaron and his ministry, Numbers 17:10.
Lesson: As the rebellious and spiritually insensitive people repeatedly complained of God's human leaders and leadership to where they blocked GOD'S interests in the nation, GOD intervened not only to discipline the errant complainers, but gave SUPERNATURAL EVIDENCE through the human leader (Aaron's own walking stick) that he was chosen and led of God to serve as he did.

Application: (1) As part of the CONGREGATION, we should never complain about a spiritual leader or his acts, but respectfully direct questions of him and his work to the duly established leadership to whom he answers. (2) As part of the CONGREGATION, we must heed God's obvious working in a human leader's life and ministry, which evidence vindicates his calling to be divinely sanctioned. (3) If in God's LEADERSHIP we face complaints, (a) we must correct ourselves if we are to be blamed, but (b) if innocent, graciously seek God's help (Num. 16:45b) and gently speak the truth, letting GOD handle the rest, 2 Tim. 2:24-26. After all, it is GOD'S interests in His people that are at stake!