Numbers 17* Twelve rods laid up before the Lord. (1-7) Aaron's rod buds,and is kept for a memorial. (8-13)1-7 It is an instance of the grace of God, that, having wroughtdivers miracles to punish sin, he would work one more to preventit. Twelve rods or staves were to be brought in. It is probablethat they were the staves which the princes used as ensigns oftheir authority; old dry staves, that had no sap in them. Theywere to expect that the rod of the tribe, or prince, whom Godchose to the priesthood, should bud and blossom. Moses did notobject that the matter was sufficiently settled already; he didnot undertake to determine it; but left the case before theLord. 8-13 While all the other rods remained as they were. Aaron'srod became a living branch. In some places there were buds, inothers blossoms, in others fruit, at the same time; all this wasmiraculous. Thus Aaron was manifested to be under the specialblessing of Heaven. Fruitfulness is the best evidence of aDivine call; and the plants of God's setting, and the boughs cutoff them, will flourish. This rod was preserved, to take awaythe murmurings of the people, that they might not die. Thedesign of God, in all his providences, and in the memorials ofthem, is to take away sin. Christ was manifested to take awaysin. Christ is expressly called a rod out of the stem of Jesse:little prospect was there, according to human views, that heshould ever flourish. But the dry rod revived and blossomed tothe confusion of his adversaries. The people cry, Behold, wedie, we perish, we all perish! This was the language of arepining people, quarrelling with the judgments of God, which bytheir own pride and obstinacy they brought upon themselves. Itis very wicked to fret against God when we are in affliction,and in our distress thus to trespass yet more. If we die, if weperish, it is of ourselves, and the blame will be upon our ownheads. When God judges, he will overcome, and will oblige themost obstinate gainsayers to confess their folly. And how greatare our mercies, that we have a clearer and a betterdispensation, established upon better promises!
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