Numbers 16 and 17; Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 403
We worship God when we respect His authority.
“Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” (Revelation 14:7).
Lin and Jacob were playing a word game. Too soon the bell rang and recess was over. “Come, children,” called their teacher. “It’s time for math class.”
Lin sighed. Jacob was not so quiet. “I don’t know why we have to go back so soon,” he grumbled.
A long time ago some grown men thought they shouldn’t have to do as their leader said. They decided to rebel. They wanted to have their own way. But their way was not God’s way.
There was trouble in the camp. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were very upset. They didn’t think that Moses and Aaron should be the only leaders. Korah also thought it unfair that only Aaron’s family served as priests. Korah and other Levites worked in the tabernacle but only Aaron’s family were allowed to be priests. I am a Levite just like Aaron, Korah may have thought. Why can’t my family have a chance to be priests too? The more he thought about it, the more unfair it seemed.
But Korah, Dathan, and Abiram had forgotten something very important. Moses had not asked for the job of leading the Israelites. God had chosen him.
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram soon found others who agreed with them. Two hundred fifty other men joined the plot against Aaron and Moses. Together they went to Moses and said, “Why do you set yourself above the Lord’s people?”
Moses listened to them. Then he warned them, “It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together.” But they wouldn’t listen. These men refused to accept the leaders that God had chosen. They refused to follow the instructions God had given. God wanted everyone to know that Moses was the leader that He had chosen. God made something happen that had never happened before and Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and the 250 men were destroyed. But that was not enough to stop the grumbling in the camp.
“Get a walking stick from the leaders of each of the 12 tribes of Israel,” God told Moses. “Write the name of each leader on the stick from his tribe.”
Aaron’s name was written on the stick from the tribe of Levi. God told Moses to place the 12 sticks in the tabernacle overnight. “The stick belonging to the man I choose will sprout,” said God. “I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.”
In the morning Moses and all the people went to the tabernacle. They wanted to see what had happened to the walking sticks. When Moses brought out Aaron’s stick, everyone was surprised to see it had sprouted. It had budded, blossomed, and produced almonds. An old dead stick had come to life.
When Moses showed the sticks to the Israelites, they realized God had indeed chosen Aaron. Moses and Aaron served under God’s authority, and the people were finally willing to respect that.
Moses put Aaron’s walking stick in the ark in the tabernacle as a reminder to respect the authority of God. And that Bible story reminds us to respect those God puts in authority over us.