"And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you" (Numbers 17:5).
It could be said that "the natives were getting restless" in the 16th chapter of Numbers, when the people grew weary of the leadership of Moses and Aaron. They didn't like what had happened to Korah and his wicked companions when God made the earth open and swallow them, so they challenged God's chosen leader, Moses, and in so doing, issued a challenge to God.
Enough was enough, and God sent a plague to consume the people. Moses and Aaron hurried to take a censor from the altar and offer incense among the people so as to assuage God's anger. This was accomplished, but not before 14,700 people died in the plague (Numbers 16:49). As a result, God decided to settle this issue of priestly authority once and for all, and proposed a test.
God commanded that each tribe submit a rod with the tribe's name on it, along with Aaron's rod for the tribe of Levi. Then he laid them in the tabernacle, where God would meet with Moses to work a miraclemake a dead rod blossom. Whichever tribe's rod blossomed would be the next set of leaders. This happened, and more, on the next day. Aaron's rod was the one chosen, but it not only budded, it brought forth blossoms, and yielded almonds. That budded rod became a testimony against the rebels from then on.
Thus we read about a roddery, not a lottery, of twelve possible outcomes. In the lottery, chance is the overriding factor, but in this roddery, God's will and perfect knowledge were the directing forces. In real life, there is no error or alternativeonly certainty. "God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another" (Psalm 75:7). KBC