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Friday January 18 – The high priest stops death and gives life

And the LORD said to Moses, “Put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die.” – Numbers 17:10

Scripture reading: Numbers 16:41-17:11

You would think what had happened to the rebels was enough for the grumblings to stop. It was not. The very next day the people accuse Moses and Aaron of killing the people of the LORD! The LORD is ready to destroy Israel. In fact, He is already doing it. A plague has started. There is no time for Moses to intercede, as in previous instances. Quickly Moses gives instructions to Aaron. He has to take a censer with coals from the altar and go among the people. That was something to order! The High Priest was holy and thus not allowed to come in contact with death. But Aaron goes and when the plague comes to where he stands with his censer, it stops. The intercession of this High Priest stops the power of death.

Following these events, the LORD wants to make it clear that He appoints leaders.  He uses the staff of Aaron as a visual proof, because, unlike all the others, it has sprouted, put forth buds, produced blossoms and bore ripe almonds. These are the same buds and blossoms as on the lampstand! The staff of Aaron becomes a symbol of life. The LORD gives life through the High Priest appointed by Him.

It is not difficult to see how Aaron here foreshadows Christ, our High Priest. Christ by His death and resurrection broke the power of death. In Christ alone is true life. How rich we are in Christ and His intercession.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord for what we have received in our High Priest, Jesus Christ. Ask for His grace and Spirit to fight the powers of sin and live new lives.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Douwe G. J. Agema is currently minister of Living Word Canadian Reformed Church in Guelph and also teaches several courses at Covenant Canadian Reformed Teachers’ College.

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