ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 246


people!” As the community gathered to protest against Moses and Aaron,
they turned toward the Tabernacle and saw that the cloud had covered it,
and the glorious presence of the Lord appeared.
Moses and Aaron came and stood in front of the Tabernacle, and the
Lord said to Moses, “Get away from all these people so that I can instantly
destroy them!” But Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground.
And Moses said to Aaron, “Quick, take an incense burner and place
burning coals on it from the altar. Lay incense on it, and carry it out among
the people to purify them and make them right with the Lord. The Lord’s
anger is blazing against ­them—­the plague has already begun.”
Aaron did as Moses told him and ran out among the people. The plague
had already begun to strike down the people, but Aaron burned the incense and purified the people. He stood between the dead and the living,
and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died in that plague, in addition to those who had died in the affair involving Korah. Then because
the plague had stopped, Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to bring you twelve
wooden staffs, one from each leader of Israel’s ancestral tribes, and inscribe
each leader’s name on his staff. Inscribe Aaron’s name on the staff of the
tribe of Levi, for there must be one staff for the leader of each ancestral
tribe. Place these staffs in the Tabernacle in front of the Ark containing
the tablets of the Covenant, where I meet with you. Buds will sprout on
the staff belonging to the man I choose. Then I will finally put an end
to the people’s murmuring and complaining against you.”
So Moses gave the instructions to the people of Israel, and each of the
twelve tribal leaders, including Aaron, brought Moses a staff. Moses placed
the staffs in the Lord’s presence in the Tabernacle of the Covenant. When
he went into the Tabernacle of the Covenant the next day, he found that
Aaron’s staff, representing the tribe of Levi, had sprouted, budded, blossomed, and produced ripe almonds!
When Moses brought all the staffs out from the Lord’s presence, he
showed them to the people. Each man claimed his own staff. And the
Lord said to Moses: “Place Aaron’s staff permanently before the Ark of
the Covenant to serve as a warning to rebels. This should put an end to
their complaints against me and prevent any further deaths.” So Moses did
as the Lord commanded him.
Then the people of Israel said to Moses, “Look, we are doomed! We are
dead! We are ruined! Everyone who even comes close to the Tabernacle
of the Lord dies. Are we all doomed to die?”

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