Numbers 17:1-13 (Part 2) – Are You A Dead Stick in a World That Needs You to Be a Budding Flower?

Posted: September 18, 2016 in Book of Numbers

Numbers 17:1-13 (Part 2 of 2)

The Budding of Aaron’s Staff

Are you producing almonds in your life? Is your staff budding and blossoming? Or are you a dead stick not producing any fruit?

One of the complaints about us as Christians, in general, is that we have a critical spirit and that we are judgmental. There is plenty of evidence to support these assumptions. Just think of so-called churches life Westboro Baptist Church. They send their members around the nation to condemn the activities of others. They have decided that they are the brokers of God’s Word and that they have cornered the market on understanding God. There have been numerous abortion clinic protests and, even, abortion clinic bombings that have killed people. Often in churches, we feed on our own by gossiping about what someone wears to church or what someone is doing at church to begin with considering their reputation. Why is it that so often people who are in the midst of a divorce quit church because of fear of what people will say? Just look at Facebook. Christians seem to hide behind their keyboards and judge others harshly for having beliefs that are not Christian. You know. You’ve seen it. There’s old saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. We must be characterized by love and not hate. We must be characterized by conviction and not by condemnation.

 

Often as churchgoers too, we complain that something major cannot be done because it costs too much or we can’t get enough people to commit to doing the work. We accept half-ass at church where it would never be acceptable in the secular because we think that we are lucky just to have the bare minimum when it comes to church. We don’t dream big dreams at church because we just don’t think it can be done. We defeat ourselves before we even begin. We don’t dream big dreams because it might take some work, some commitment. We are just happy that we can keep the lights on at church much less impact the world around us with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes, we accept sub-standard at church and we wonder why the world doesn’t pay us any attention. Sometimes, at church, we accept low-quality, low-budget as the best we can do because it’s church. Sometimes, we think that a flyer done on a computer will capture people’s attention when we need professionalism in our communications. Sometimes, we think an old-time gospel singing will impact the community and we wonder why no one shows up. Sometimes, we think church bake sale when we should be thinking bigger and better. Sometimes, we like our old tired ways better than trying something new and bold. Sometimes, we think small instead of thinking big. We can’t make a splash if are bold enough to do a cannonball.

 

It is that idea of critical spirits in our actions toward others and that defeatist attitude that sometimes characterizes us as Christians that I thought of when I read this passage again today, Numbers 17:1-13, before we move onto the next passage:

 

17 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff. 3 On the staff of Levi write Aaron’s name, for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe. 4 Place them in the tent of meeting in front of the ark of the covenant law, where I meet with you. 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.”

 

6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron’s staff was among them. 7 Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant law.

 

8 The next day Moses entered the tent and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. 9 Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the Lord’s presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each of the leaders took his own staff.

 

10 The Lord said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.” 11 Moses did just as the Lord commanded him.

 

12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We will die! We are lost, we are all lost! 13 Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord will die. Are we all going to die?”

 

 

Are you are a person that says the sky is falling? Are you a person in a disaster move that has the line that says “we’re all going to die?” Are you a person who criticizes others rather than encourages? Are you a person that dreams small because you don’t think it can be done? It is true that plants won’t grow in soil that is too acidic. How is your soil? Are you supercritical? Are you not dreaming the big dreams because everyone believes it cannot be done? Are you one of the ones who subscribes to the theory that it cannot be done? Are you shooting down your own ministry because of not allowing dreams to be dreamed?

 

Flowers don’t grow on dead sticks. Almonds are not produced on dead trees. Maybe it’s time for us to go big or go home. What is it that you dream or wish that you church could do to impact the world for Jesus Christ? Maybe it’s time we take some risks and trust God. Maybe it’s time we moved beyond the bake sales, and cow drops, and old-time gospel singings, and hand-made flyers and go big. Maybe we stop believing that we can’t do something big and stop settling for less than. Maybe we quit grumbling that it cannot be done and dream the impossible dreams. Maybe we should be dreaming that we can do something that is impossible because it means that we will have to depend on God to make it happen. Maybe we begin to trust the Miracle Maker.

 

How can we dream big if we are stuck in a critical, defeatist spirit? Is your staff not going to bud because you don’t really believe in a big God? Do you believe that he does not do miracles anymore? Do you believe in a second class, just barely enough God? Then, you are a dead stick. Believe in the big, wide open, anything is possible God? Believe that He is an amazing God. Believe. Have faith. When you dream God-sized dreams there will be no second-rate, just barely enough. When we dream God-sized impossible dreams, God will show up and show out. When we are doing what God wants us to do, when we are making an impact for His eternal kingdom, God will go big if we believe in a go-big God! God is a God of miracles. Why do we spend time grumbling about one another and selling God short because we think it cannot be done? Let’s keep our eyes on the Creator of the Universe! He is a big God. He is an awesome God who can make the impossible possible. Let us dream big about making Jesus’ name known in unique ways, modern ways, professionally crafted ways, ways that are not halfway done, with what we have available. Let us dream big, done well, and fully funded. Let us believe that God will bring about the miracles. All we have to do is quit grumbling and start budding. When we quit complaining about others we start budding. When we love instead of complain and criticize our soil becomes fertile.

 

When we trust instead of saying it can’t be done, we start flowering. When we go big God will bring us home. When we depend on Him to make the miracles, we are ready to produce almonds.

 

Amen and Amen.

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