A couple million people fearing for their lives from a rampaging God of peace is always a fun way to finish of a chapter!
Numbers 17:8-13 begins the next day, and—collective gasp from the audience—it is Aaron’s staff that God caused to blossom with new buds, flowers, and almonds. God then tells Moses to place the staff before the tabernacle so that all may see that Aaron is God’s chosen leader. This causes the Israelites to reel in fear as they think God is going to murder them all yet again. Here’s a helpful tip, if you live in constant fear that your god is going to murder you, he’s probably not a god of peace.
The real humor of this passage is how stunned the Israelites seem to be that God picked Aaron to be the leader, even though God has never hid the fact that he hates the other Israelites so much, he wants to kill them all. The Israelites then approach Moses, the same guy they just blamed for murdering their heroes, for protection from God. Yes, a mortal is going to protect them from the wrath of a god! Laughable.
The more I read from the Old Testament, the less I can buy that whole “father and son are one” line. Furthermore, these stories do not impress upon me the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omni-benevolent, timeless, unchanging god. In fact, just the opposite on each account.
On the plus side, we’ve passed the halfway mark of Numbers!