Numbers 17:5   “The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.”.

Throughout the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Moses faced the recurrent threat of challenges to his leadership.

It was the LORD God himself who had raised up Moses and given him full authority to lead and teach the people (Num. 12:4-8).  It was Moses through whom the Law, the Torah, was given – and that Torah remains the unquestioned, although badly misunderstood and/or misinterpreted, authority among Orthodox Jews even today.

Ever since Satan unsettled Eve in the Garden with the question, “Did God really say …” (Genesis 3:1), Man has been in rebellion against God’s right to tell him what to do.  We see it expressed today in the rebellion of children against parents or teachers, in the undermining of authority in the community and in the workplace, and in our present society’s accepted disregard for the Bible as God’s written, authoritative, infallible Word.

The supernatural, miraculous budding of Aaron’s staff was to be a permanent sign in Israel that priestly authority was to be vested in him alone, which is why this staff was preserved in the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place (see Hebrews 9:3-5).  God was serious about where authentic lines of authority lay – he had just dealt quite decisively with Korah and others who had rebelled against Moses’ authority (Numbers 14 & 16).

Now that Jesus has come to fulfil all the requirements of the Aaronic priesthood, has introduced a whole new order in which he is both the perfect sacrifice for sin and the High Priest forever (Hebrews 7), and has opened up for us all a ‘new and living way’ into God’s presence (Hebrews 10:19-22), WE are now part of the ‘priesthood of all believers’ (1 Peter 2:5).  In this new order, therefore, the only authority is the Written Word of God – no pope or bishop or church hierarchy.  And what is important for us in all this is that God demands of us the same attitude of submission to his infallible Word as was demanded of Israel to the leadership and authority of Moses and Aaron.
– Bruce Christian