Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

The role of trees in the Bible – Day 3

The almond tree — burst into life

Bible text(s)

8The next day, when Moses went into the Tent, he saw that Aaron's stick, representing the tribe of Levi, had sprouted. It had budded, blossomed, and produced ripe almonds!

Numbers 17:8GNBOpen in Bible reader

The almond is a winter tree with serrated and elongated leaves. In Israel its blossoms are fully out at the end of January or beginning of February; it is the herald of spring.

The issue of Israel’s priesthood was causing a lot of controversy among the Israelites — Korah and his followers neither respected Moses’ leadership nor recognised Aaron’s priesthood. Something drastic needed to be done to put an end to the Israelites’ grumbling. In Numbers 17, the Lord told Moses to gather a rod from each of the 12 households of Israel, write a name on each rod, place the rods in a holy place, and leave them overnight. In the morning, only Aaron’s almond rod of the house of Levi was a living branch with buds, blossoms and ripe almonds. There was now no doubt that Aaron was the right man for the job.

Everything in this miracle is so far beyond the power of nature. To see a piece of wood long cut off from the parent stock without bark or moisture remaining, locked up in a dry place for a single night, burst into life, left no doubt in the Israelites’ minds that God had intervened.

Sometimes we can feel like one of those staffs — all dried up without any life left. It is not difficult for our Lord to make our rod bud, blossom and yield overnight, as long as we are willing to serve! The question is: are we?

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