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N umbers 17-18

God Affirms Aaron's Priesthood / Levitical Support


Numbers 17:1-18:32
I. Context
Who are the main characters in the passage? What do we know about them?
Moses & Aaron:

The Levites:

When and where does this passage take place?


When: We know that this passage takes place du ring the time after the spies retu rned from Canaan, bu t as with
previou s passages, there is no indication whether or not time had passed between last week's passage and, if so, how
mu ch. Using estimates from Nu mbers 10:11-12, 10:33, 11:35, and 13:25, we can estimate that these events occu r at
least 2 years and 4 months after the Exodu s from Egypt.
Where: There has not been any indication of movement since the Israelites were driven back to Hormah in 14:45, so
likely this passage takes place near Hormah or arou nd the area of Kadesh, based on 13:26.

What is going on? (Summary of Events)


To settle the matter of God's appointing Aaron as High Priest and the Levites as the priesthood, the Lord
commanded that a staff from each tribe be placed in the Tent of Meeting. The Lord caused Aaron's staff
to bud, blossom, and produce almonds overnight.

The Lord told Aaron of his, his family's, and his tribe's responsibilities regarding the tabernacle. He
also told Aaron what part(s) of the offernings brought by the Israelites would belong to him and his
family.

II. Interpretation
What principles are illu strated in this passage? What wou ld you consider the theme of this passage?

What do we learn of God's character from this passage? Does this passage point u s toward or connect with Christ? If so,
how?

Several times we have seen God providing a visible sign for the people. List some of the visible/physical signs we've seen so far
in Exodu s & Nu mbers. Do signs and faith work together or are they enemies? Why/why not?

What do we learn abou t setting things apart for the Lord? What was the expectation for the Israelites? For the Levites? For
Aaron?

III. Application

We shou ld be thankfu l that the omnipotent God of the u niverse cares enou gh to meet u s on a personal level, ju st as he did by
providing the visible signs to the Israelites and u ltimately for all of u s by stepping into the world as a man, Jesu s Christ.

The Lord expects that we bring ou r very best to him. How might that apply today? Do we honor God with the best we have
or do we give him the left-overs? Shou ld ou r time at chu rch each week be different than the rest of the week? Why or why
not?