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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Plague Kills 14,700 Israelites; Aaron is God's Chosen Leader

Today's Reading:
  • Numbers 16:41 - 18:32
  • Proverbs 11:7
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Numbers 16:41 - 18:32
In my last reading in Numbers, those who stood with Korah were blazed to death with a fire, and Dathan and Abiram, together with their houses, possessions, and family were literally swallowed by the earth.  

That show of power apparently wasn't enough for the Israelite people.  The very next morning they were once again coming up against Moses and Arron, accusing them of killing the Lord's people.  The Lord had enough, and began to instantly bring a plague upon the people.

Once again, Moses and Aaron tried to intercede the Lord's wrath, but the Lord wasn't going to back down this time.  So Moses commanded Aaron to go and burn incense amongst the people to purify them.  We are told that Aaron stood between the dead and living, and then the plague stopped (16:48).  In that short amount of time, however, 14,700 people died in the plague.

The Lord then instructed Moses to gather a staff from each of the twelve tribal leaders.  The staffs were placed in the Lord's presence within the Tabernacle and left overnight.  When Moses returned, all staffs were the same save one -- the staff of Aaron.  That staff had sprouted, budded, blossomed, and produced ripe almonds (17:8).  With that sign from the Lord, no one could deny that Aaron was God's chosen leader, and Levites held a special position in care of the Tabernacle.

I wondered what almond blossoms looked like, so I will close this section with a picture:

 

Proverbs 11:7
When the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength.
I am thankful that my hopes are eternal, not mortal.  I don't have to rely on my weak, mortal strength; for the Lord will provision me with a glorified, eternal body that is strengthened by faith in the Lord Almighty.  Thank you, Lord!


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