Aaron’s Rod Redo
DISCLAIMER: This is a redo from the previous go around as I realized I didn’t have peace about the previous result and felt like I went down the wrong trail. I’m not the first man to admit he was wrong. 🙂 I like this version much better. It starts the same, but finishes in a different place.
As a recap from part 2, we are looking at what Mosaic covenant symbols might mean in light of a new covenant. Particularly, I wrote that the ark of the covenant is a metaphor for your heart. The intended destiny for your heart is to be in the presence of God, 24×7. Inside the ark were a pot of manna, a rod, and two tablets (Hebrews 9:4). In this section we’ll look at the symbol of the rod and how this maps to hope. By the way, rod and staff are mostly used interchangeably.
1 The LORD instructed Moses:
2 “Speak to the Israelites and take one staff from them for each ancestral house, 12 staffs from all the leaders of their ancestral houses. Write each man’s name on his staff.
3 Write Aaron’s name on Levi’s staff, because there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral house.
4 Then place them in the tent of meeting in front of the testimony where I meet with you.
5 The staff of the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid Myself of the Israelites’ complaints that they have been making about you.”
6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and each of their leaders gave him a staff, one for each of the leaders of their ancestral houses, 12 staffs in all. Aaron’s staff was among them.
7 Moses placed the staffs before the LORD in the tent of the testimony.
8 The next day Moses entered the tent of the testimony and saw that Aaron’s staff, representing the house of Levi, had sprouted, formed buds, blossomed, and produced almonds!
Of course, in context, the staff is seen as a symbol of authority. Authority was being contested. Yet, whose authority was it, man’s or God’s? Reading further in the text reveals that the purpose of the supernatural demonstration was to stop their grumbling. We, however, are looking for a life-giving understanding of the symbol in the context of a new and better covenant. Yeshua came to bring abundant life not condemnation.
As we discussed in a previous section, the Hebraic way of understanding a symbol is looking at what something does.
The Hebrew word translated here as rod or staff comes from the Hebrew word ‘Matteh.’ It can also translate as tribe, branch, or vine. However, in this case its natural function doesn’t help understand the symbol. We will need to look at how God used the symbol in previous scriptural references. In Exodus 4, God supernaturally transforms Moses’ staff into a snake and back into a staff again. God’s power and authority were demonstrated. In the beginning of Exodus 3, Moses was tending sheep giving us the impression that this ‘matteh’ had the appearance of being an ordinary shepherd’s staff. Later in Exodus, we see Moses and Aaron seemingly sharing the same staff as more signs are given towards Pharoah, such as turning the Nile to blood (Exodus 7). Generally speaking the usage of the word ‘Matteh’ in scripture was for ruling and exercising dominion.
Why are the Israelites complaining? What is this really about? The complaints begin with Miriam in Numbers 12 regarding Moses being the only one to hear from God. It continues to build with the sons of Korah not being content with their roles as Levites and not being the chosen one to go into the temple. Really? Or perhaps would they like to run things differently. What I see at the heart of all this is jealously, even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense. With great privilege comes great responsibility. One wrong move on Aaron’s part and the others would have to drag him by his ankles out of the temple, dead on arrival. I wouldn’t want Aaron’s job.
Why are they jealous of Aaron? I believe it is because he was chosen. Don’t we all want to be chosen? Don’t we all want to be special and have some sense of powerful purpose? I think many of us fear a life without meaning.
In context, I believe Aaron’s rod represents the hope of God’s power. I believe we all have a need to feel powerful. That’s why superhero movies are so popular. Powerlessness leads to hopelessness. If we see God’s power demonstrated even once, it gives us hope that he will do it again.
About five years ago I prayed for a family member whose hand was stuck with arthritis and pain (think claw). I watched as I held her hand, prayed, and waited for God to heal her. After a bit I could see all the inflammation draining out of her hand. To the astonishment of both of us, all the pain and inflammation left her hand and full mobility was restored (it had been crippled for about eighteen months). Her healing remained months later. The most beautiful part of the whole process was the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart that the healing was just an expression of His love for her.
Having seen that power demonstrated gives me hope that God will do it again, even if I haven’t seen it since then. I experientially know that He can.
In the new covenant Paul writes that the same power that raised Jesus from the lives in you.
Hope in a body resurrected is certainly part of what we are to carry in our hearts. In context, God took a dead stick and supernaturally brought it to new life. Like the rod, God has the power to raise you from the dead and bring you into a resurrected life.
We don’t need to fear and worry about our health or what the future holds. The world worries about those things. One of the scriptures that helps me to focus is 2 Timothy 1:7, “He hasn’t given us a spirit of fear [or worry], but of love, power, and a sound mind.”
The promises of God can give us hope as an anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:19). A promise that gives me hope and stabilizes my heart is when Yeshua tells me “never will I leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
In our text, the rod supernaturally sprouted buds, blossoms, and even produced almonds!
In Israel, almond trees would first begin to blossom in the month of Adar (February) after the coldest and darkest month of the year. The almond tree was a sign of hope and marked the new season of life.
Almonds were the fruit of the branch. The fruit of hope and remaining in Yeshua. Like the branch in the ark, the fruit is to be eternal and born of hope.
As we remain in Yeshua, we will bear fruit.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name, the Father will give you.”
There are specific things that God has called you to do (Ephesians 2:10). I am not called to those same things as you are. In fact, comparing ourselves with others does not often bring life. Jealousy and strife resulted from the Israelites going after Aaron’s calling.
Remaining in His presence will encourage your heart. As you remain in this place of hope, fruit will happen. It won’t look the same as the fruit that I am called to bear, but it will be good and look like life.
Your heart belongs in the presence of God. Ask Him what He would say to you. Ask Him what it means to have your hope in Him. Hope looks like something.
To be continued (tablets)…