Aaron: Priest or Pagan

By: Pastor Jarren

“It’s not too late and we’re never too far. God is always good, and He always remembers us.” – Louie Giglio

I love movies and books. The creativity and richness of the many different adventures that can be told through visual and written media is astounding. There are so many good stories out there. But what makes a story good?

Some say a nice plot or good dialogue but, to me, the best part of a story is the character development. It is watching a certain character grow and mature throughout the telling of a tale. It’s watching a character that you love be successful or make mistakes. It’s reading about their life as they change and thrive.

The best part of stories is watching on as the humanness of a character is on display. It is when we watch our beloved, fictional friends fail, mess up, and move on that we see our story reflected in theirs. That’s the best part. 

There is one character in the Bible that has always intrigued me. It is the person of Aaron. We first see Aaron in Pharaoh’s courts as he acts as Moses’ voice. It’s Aaron who stretches his hand over the streams and ponds to initiate the plague of frogs. It’s Aaron who slams his staff into the ground prompting the plague of gnats. Aaron stood right alongside Moses as each wonder was performed in front of Pharaoh. He was there when the Israelites were finally released. 

Aaron was there as the Israelites fought the Amalekites. He stood on one side of Moses and, along with Hur, held Moses arms up stretched to the sky. As long as Moses’ arms were extended the Israelites were winning. 

What an amazing character is Aaron. The things that he has experienced and how he must have been shaped by these events is unfathomable. But then comes a story that paints Aaron in a bad light.

At the beginning of Exodus 32, Moses is up on Mount Sinai and the Israelites are down below and they are beginning to get impatient. They come to Aaron and they say, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him” (Exodus 32:1).

And we think we know how Aaron will respond. Surely, he knows better. I mean, he was there when Pharaoh released the Israelites. He has seen what God can do! But how does Aaron respond? We see him fashion an idol with his own two hands!

What! Aaron, you know better! How could you do this? This isn’t the Aaron we have seen shaped throughout the beginning of Exodus!

But the good news is that Aaron’s story doesn’t end there. In Exodus 39, it is Aaron who is one of the first priests of the newly built tabernacle. Aaron finds himself once again in obedience to God. 

It is in the book of Numbers that we see how Aaron’s story ends. He dies on Mount Hor after Moses removes Aaron’s priestly garments and puts them on his son. Aaron’s story ends with a legacy of following Yahweh passed onto his son. 

Maybe we see a bit of Aaron in ourselves. Maybe we have seen God perform wonders, yet we have still failed when it mattered most. Maybe we too have built golden calves. 

The good news is that there is always opportunity for a comeback. There’s always room for a legacy to be made. Look at Aaron. 

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