The Leaders of the People Challenge God’s Sovereign Choice of Aaron as their Priestly Leader

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Picture of a budding almond branch

Once again, the people have rejected God’s sovereign choice of their leader. To indicate whom God had chosen to serve as the priestly leader of the people, God told Moses to collect a staff from each of the Israelite tribes. He was to write the name of the tribe on the staff and write Aaron’s name on the tribe of Levi’s staff.

The twelve staves were placed in the Tent of Meeting. The next morning, Moses discovered that Aaron’s had sprouted, bloomed, and produced almonds. (Numbers 17:8) The other eleven staves remained as wooden sticks.

In today’s Bible reading* God miraculously demonstrates His approval of Aaron as His sovereign choice for the priestly leader of His people. As best as I can figure, God sped up the almond maturing process by about a year! The image above shows something like what Moses found in the morning.


From today’s reading and our readings over the past couple of days, it’s clear that God gives various gifts to His people, but He sovereignly chooses certain people for certain tasks. Moses reluctantly took the job of leading God’s people out of their Egyptian captivity, but he asked God for help. God called Moses’ brother Aaron to the task of assisting Moses.

For us to complain about our leaders shows a distrust in God. It shows a belief that God made a mistake in not appointing someone else to a particular task or position. Regardless of how you voted in the past elections, it doesn’t matter if “your guy” won or not. God places the leaders He chooses. (Daniel 2:21) And He doesn’t owe us any explanations for His sovereign choice.

We can disagree with politicians’ policies, but God commands us to pray for our President … and for all of those in authority. (1 Timothy 2:1–2) Our government leaders are actually God’s representatives while they hold their positions of authority. (Romans 13:1, 4) As such, to say, “Not my President” is to reject God’s sovereign choice and to even reject God Himself! (Romans 13:2)

Note that when Paul wrote 1 Timothy, Nero was the Roman Emperor. Nero hated Christians. He accused them of burning Rome. And Nero used Christians as burning streetlights in Rome. Yet, Paul told the Roman Christians to pray for Nero so that the church could continue its mission of spreading the Gospel message.

* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
– Numbers 17
– Numbers 18
– Numbers 19
– Numbers 20

This devotional was originally published on March 1, 2021.

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