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A Sappy Symbol

Numbers 17:2, 5, 8
“Speak to the people of Israel, and get from them staffs, one for each father’s house, from all their chiefs according to their fathers’ house, twelves staffs. … And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout. Thus I will make to cease from me the grumblings of the people of Israel …” On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron … had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.

This sign, remarkable though it is, only has the potential to end the people’s grumbling if they see the deeper principle signified by it. If they only receive from these budding flowers the fact that God has set Aaron apart, then they may recognize Aaron’s God-given authority for a week, or a month, or a year, but the sheen of that deference will eventually wear off. Further, if the sight of blossoming petals and almonds only causes them to reminisce on the Red Sea parting and on that first day when manna fell from Heaven and of the completion of the Tabernacle, then the manifold bounty of this divine sign will also wane with time. How do we know? Because God has performed far greater miracles than these in their midst, yet they’ve still found reason to revolt time and time again.

But look what God has really accomplished through this miracle, friend. He’s taken the dead wood of a dead tree and given it new life! It’s a picture of resurrection! A blooming, blossoming prophecy of a new creation from the dust of the old! The question is, do you see it at work around you still today? Right now, somewhere in your own neighborhood or church or town, some dead, wooden soul that seemed irredeemable, void of any spiritual pulse, that hasn’t born fruit for years, with nothing green left under its skin, is coming to life anew at the Word of Christ! Even as you read this, dead friendships, severed marriages, broken ministries, closed churches, sapless heirlooms with no fruit, blossom, or branch are, at the touch of the Sower, springing up with more beauty and brilliance than ever before.

Look around! See what God is doing with your own eyes! Feel that blossoming, fruit-bearing surge of regeneration rising up in you! And for Heaven’s sake, stop grumbling.