Numbers 17-18 Psalm 45

You know what I don’t understand? They just watched the earth open up and swallow three households. They just watched fire from incense burners consume 250 people, a cloud with the glory of the Lord spread through the angry crowd and spreads a plague that kills people until Aaron out runs it with holy incense. But yeah, sure, his walking stick blooms and produces ripe almonds, okay, we’ll accept that he’s really God’s chosen priest now.

You know, not after the earth ate all those people, not after the freaky fire, but yeah, the walking stick is convincing.

I don’t even know how to respond to Israel. I never have.

But… that was a lot of death. The things that shut everyone up? Life. Blooming flowers, ripe almonds. The Egyptian magicians could copy the first few plagues. Gods and sacrifices and power, these were not foreign concepts. Bringing about death through creepy displays of magic power, maybe that was something they believed Moses himself could do. Bringing about life? That’s a lot harder.

God doesn’t really want to win us over through fear and pain. He wants to win us over through love, through beauty, through our coming to understand that he is the source of life, the only source of life. He doesn’t want us cowering in fear. He wants us admiring the flowers.

Maybe that is a decent application, a reasonable takeaway. I mean, definitely don’t rebel against God’s explicit plan simply because you don’t happen to like your place in it. And maybe don’t set out to attack his chosen ministers, either. But… maybe it is kind of beautiful that it was a blossom that won the peace rather than an execution.

After all, the life that comes from God is more powerful than death.

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