THE BUDDING OF AARON’S ROD
A Sermon by Rev Frederick ChapinAugust 21, 1994
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Mt 5:16)
If we have a true love for the Lord in our hearths, it will show itself in our outward actions. the way we conduct ourselves before others will give evidence of our desire for the Lord to be active in our lives. One of the characteristics of Divine love is to se its power for the sake of others. And the person who chooses to be receptive of the Lord’s love will also have this same desire. Without the Lord, it is impossible for us to perform acts of charity towards others in sincerity. the Lord made this clear when He told His disciples:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (Jn 15:4&5)
Therefore, we are absolutely dependant on the Lord to be in a genuine state of charity. Only when the Lord is looked to can we truly love our friends, spouses, and even our children. When the Lord is received, and His love is active in our hearts, our external actions will be effected. We will seek to say and do things that will be of genuine use for others. If the Lord is received, our outward actions will be in charity; if the Lord is not received, our actions will only be for the sake of self. The Lord referred to this principle in His Sermon on the Mount:
Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Mt 7:17, 18, 20)
We can only bear good fruit in our action when we are willing to be led by the Lord. And when we are a good tree, good fruit will be displayed before others.
The display of good from the Lord before others is also described in the story of Aaron’s rod budding with blossoms and almonds. Shortly before the Children of Israel were to enter the land of Canaan, they complained once again about the hardships of their journey. but this time they began to question the authority of Moses and Aaron. They were starting to wonder if Moses and Aaron had the right to lead them. In fact, the rebellion grew until finally a man name Korah openly revolted against Moses and tried to overthrow him. Eventually, Korah and his followers died when the earth opened up and swallowed them. However, to remove all doubt as to who the Lord chose to lead the children of Israel, He instructed the leader of each tribe to write his name on a rod or branch, and place it before the ark, which contained the ten commandments. Aaron placed a rod, representing the tribe of Levi, and his rod was put in the middle of the others rods. the next day, Aaron’s rod miraculously was full of blossoms. The people were convinced by this powerful display, that Moses was their leader, Aaron was chosen to be the High Priest, and the tribe of Levi was chosen to perform the duties of the priesthood. After this incident, Moses and Aaron’s authority was never seriously questioned again.
Like Aaron’s rod, our external lives will blossom from the Lord. those around us will see the Lord’s love operating through the acts of kindness we perform toward them. Just as Aaron’s rod manifested the Lord’s power and providence, so too, our external acts of charity will manifest the Lord’s divine love when we receive the Lord/ The Lord’s love is displayed through our acts of helping and serving others. this the Lord taught when He spoke to Nicodemus:
…he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (Jn 3:21)
Just as Aaron’s rod showed the Lord’s will to the Children of Israel, so will our external actions show the Lord’s calling for our lives when we allow Him to direct our ways.
Not only did Aaron’s rod show that he had the right to occupy the position of the High Priest, it also showed that the tribe of Levi was chosen to perform the duties of the priesthood. The tribe of Levi had the special task of performing the rituals of worship that was commanded by the Lord. Therefore, Levi had a very important responsibility that had a profound effect on all the other tribes. The tribe of Levi was given this responsibility because it represented the love to the Lord, and charity towards the neighbor. (AE 431:2) It represented the desire for the reception of the Lord’s divine love into one’s life. When we have this desire, there will also be an affection of truth. (AR 357) If there is the longing to have the Lord active in our lives, there will also be the desire to learn truths. for truth teaches us how we can receive the Lord, what we should focus on and enjoy to be in a receptive state for the Lord to enter into. Just as a compassionate doctor will enjoy the study of medicine so he can fulfill his desire of healing people of their sicknesses, so too will a spiritual person delight in truth that will teach him how he can live the life the Lord wants him to live. When we have the simple desire to learn truths from the Word so the Lord can be received into our lives, we will come into a perception of what is good. (AC 6998) There will be a recognition from within as to how the Lord would want us to conduct our lives. We will continually understand how the teachings from the Word can be applied to our lives. This desire to perform good deeds and learn truth is represented by the tribe of Levi. For they insured, through the performance of the duties of the priesthood, that the Israelites could wo4ship the Lord. And from their worship, they could always know how the Lord would have them conduct their lives. This was made possible through the office of the priesthood.
The desire or affection to receive the Lord and allow Him to direct our lives is the essential of the Church. Without this desire, it is impossible to be a part of the Lord’s kingdom. We simply would not want to be included, but only live for ourselves, and have everyone serve us. Because the desire to have the Lord lead and direct is the essential for the Lord to govern us, Aaron’s rod was placed in the center of the other rods. What is in the center represents the most important ingredient. We need the willingness to do what the Lord wants us to do, before our lives can be a showcase of the Lord’s love. This is also the reason the tribe of Levi’s allotment in the Promised Land was not a specific portion of land, but was among the allotment of the other tribes of Israel. for it was important that the wo4ship of the Lord in truth be preserved everywhere. Likewise, in all aspects of our lives, the dedication and willingness to serve the Lord must be the central motivation in what we say and do.
And when Aaron’s rod was seen with blossoms on it the next day, all the people know, without doubt, that the Lord had chosen the tribe of Levi to perform the duties of the priesthood. Likewise, when our external acts are conformed to the truths of the Lord’s Word, it will become manifest that the Lord has chosen us for a very distinct purpose. As the Lord directs our lives, it will become more evident the need He would have us fulfill and the reason for our individual creation. The Lord has given each person unique talents and gifts designed to make a special contribution towards the establishment of His kingdom in the heavens, and towards the establishment of the church on the earth. Each person is created to perform a use that no one else in all of creation can perform as effectively as he or she can. And when the Lord leads us and directs our abilities towards that specific use, it will become obvious to all that the Lord has chosen us for this special task. this the Lord taught when He said to His disciples:
You did not chose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain. (Jn. 15:16)
Every use the Lord leads a person into is equally important in His eyes. Externally, it may appear that one person has a greater impact than others, so he is more vital. However, in the Lord’s eyes, every use is equally important and vital, and He cares for each one with His infinite love and wisdom. Just as the blossomed rod was a sign that the Lord was with the tribe of Levi through the various use of the priesthood, so too, will it be apparent that the Lord has chosen each one of us for a special use and contribution through the external benefits we are able to perform from His power.
And when we perform acts that agree with the Lord’s teachings in the Word, they will contain the infinite power from the Divine. For the Lord will guide them and be in them. this power in uses is pictured by the rod of Aaron. It was through his rod that enabled the Lord to make His will known. And when it was made known, there was such a power in the message that no one dared to question it. We can see the invincibility of Aaron’s selection in the response of the people when they saw his rod with blossoms on it:
Surely we die,. we perish, we all perish! Whoever even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord must die. Shall we all utterly die. (Nu 17:12&13)
This was not the only time that Divine power was displayed through Aaron’s rod. Earlier, whole the Israelites were still in Egypt, Aaron’s rod was made a serpent and swallowed all the Egyptians’ rods which were also made serpents. Therefore, through Aaron’s rod, the Lord showed His will, and the power that can never be defeated. We also will display an invincible power when we live the life the Lord desires for us. The use we perform from the Lord’s love will contain Divine power that will provide comfort to the broken-hearted, direction to the confused, and support for the weak. Our acts will enhance the harmony and effectiveness of the Lord’s church on earth. The positive effect we have on others by the Lord can never be defeated. Certainly affliction, discouragements, sicknesses, or even death may still effect our natural bodies. But the uses we try to perform from the Lord will have an everlasting effect on the entire kingdom of the Lord. Nothing that effects and hinders the natural degree of our lives will prevent our calling from contributing to the establishment of the Lord’s government in the universe. Just as Aaron’s use as a High Priest had a lasting contribution towards the Jewish Church, long after his death, so will our acts of charity have an everlasting effect, despite what may happen on the natural level of life.
Therefore, we are all to display a blossomed rod in the world around us. But this can only be done when the Lord is received. We must choose to refuse the loves, thoughts, and acts that are against His Word. When we obey the Lord’s commandments, we will bear much fruit. The fruit we bear will sow the Lord’s love towards the human race. The uses we perform will be the means where4by the Lord’s name is glorified. For the Lord teaches:
“Let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:16)