Part 2 of Two Brothers + an Over-told Story : Response is Key

In part one of this post, we looked at the events leading up to this crucial moment in time in the events in Exodus.

  • Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites all experienced God’s awesome undeniable power and deliverance
  • and yet, while Moses was coming down from a mountain top experience with God, Aaron led the charge of creating and worshiping an idol despite the amazing plans God had for His future (more details on all this in the part one of this post series). So – as I said last week – here they are – Moses frustrated and enraged, and Aaron leading a charge against everything he’d just witnessed. What’s a brother to do? Let’s look at their responses:

First, Aaron’s initial response when being confronted by Moses was deceitful to himself. Aaron made it seem like he had needed to please the people, but the truth is that other people can only tempt us, not force us to sin. (Matt Henry) Rather than responding in recognition of his wrong, he rationalized and justified his choices. Until we recognize and own up to our choices, we cannot recognize our need to repent, we won’t desire forgiveness, and thus cannot find or accept mercy or grace. If you are Moses and you are watching your loved one self-destruct and enter denial or try to hide it from you, it sounds hopeless right? But Moses is an example of what one in the bystander situation can do.

Moses pleaded with God for mercy for his brother and the people even before Aaron or the Israelites may have recognized their wrong and need for mercy. If you look at the text, it is the act of pleading for mercy on behalf of the people in sin that invokes God’s compassion to work in tandem with his justice all while still accomplishing His purpose. I believe this is an all too symbolic picture of how Christ pleads to the Father on our behalf. (Matt Henry) God wants us to have a heart like Christ and to teach us forgiveness, love, grace, and mercy …and yet He also wants to teach us and help us understand the cost of it to the one who gives it. When we can be like Moses and go to God on behalf of a brother or loved one for mercy – especially at the risk of it costing us in some personal way…whether it be time, upset between you and that person when you need to speak truth and expose sin, energy invested in prayer, or heartache and submission to however He might choose to use us to encourage change in the individual – we experience and understand just a tiny glimpse of the cost Jesus paid on our behalf. This scripture is encouraging to me because it shows that Moses’s prayer for mercy on behalf of an undeserving, cretinous people did have an impact on God’s response to the people. Our prayers for people, even before they recognize their need for change, are heard and are not in vain.

Though Moses pleaded for mercy on behalf of Aaron and the Israelites, there eventually came a time where they were called to choose sides and decide their own destiny. Moses asked “Who is on the LORD’s side?” What happened then and there was a deciding factor that preceded the death and destruction of those set on persisting in wickedness. While it is God’s decision and timing alone, there will always come a point in time where every person makes the ultimate choice, and those who persist on continuing in sin, who openly stand forth as those that choose openly and firmly to stand against the Lord and thus the ones on the Lord’s side – and are firm and happy in it – they are destined for judgement and ruin. (Matt Henry)

And Finally, Aaron – praise the Lord – did not stay in denial long before returning to God’s side. The Bible says that He who began a good work in us will carry it out to completion (Phil 1:6). I believe we saw the good work begun in Aaron back in Egypt, and despite his foolish choices, God’s mercy in this situation made it >

  • possible for Aaron to still live the calling to which God intended for him >
  • but with a deeper level or understanding that he was unworthy of his calling apart from any reason other than the grace of God. (Matt Henry) What good is it if we have an exciting and important calling from God, yet we somehow deceive ourselves into thinking we are worthy of it in any way apart from under the righteous goodness of Christ? Like the specific and intricate priestly garments he would soon wear (that symbolized the righteousness of Christ that we all must wear to appear justified and blameless and redeemed before a holy God), Aaron needed to know full well that it wasn’t he who was worthy but God whose grace and mercy and righteousness that made him worthy.  This is also so true for us. Aaron may have fallen to temptation and experienced a major defeat, but God took what Satan meant for evil and worked it for good in the end so that any pride and boasting about the high call on Aaron’s life may be silenced and prevented.(Matt Henry) Instead of anyone thinking it was he who earned the position, or instead of him beginning to think he’d deserved any of the positions God would place him in, he would now know he was undeserving and that he would fulfill his role because of God’s grace alone. The grace and ability of God would be the only thing magnified in his role as a priest…not his own ability.

There are some main take-aways I see after looking closely at this part of scripture….and I cannot wait to dig into them with you in part 3! Stay tuned! :)

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