Who was Aaron?
What were his responsibilities? How did he (or did he not) deal with griping Israel?
As you read the scriptures below, meditate on the following questions:
What does this say about who God is?
What does this say about who we are to God?
What does this mean for me? (How different am I from Aaron, Moses, or the Israelites when they act foolishly?)
- Who was Aaron & what were his responsibilities?
- Exodus 4:14-17 God got angry with Moses: “Don’t you have a brother, Aaron the Levite? He’s good with words, I know he is. He speaks very well. In fact, at this very moment he’s on his way to meet you. When he sees you he’s going to be glad. You’ll speak to him and tell him what to say. I’ll be right there with you as you speak and with him as he speaks, teaching you step by step. He will speak to the people for you. He’ll act as your mouth, but you’ll decide what comes out of it. Now take this staff in your hand; you’ll use it to do the signs.”
- Exodus 4:27-31 God spoke to Aaron, “Go and meet Moses in the wilderness.” He went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. Moses told Aaron the message that God had sent him to speak and the wonders he had commanded him to do. So Moses and Aaron proceeded to round up all the leaders of Israel. Aaron told them everything that God had told Moses and demonstrated the wonders before the people. And the people trusted and listened believingly that God was concerned with what was going on with the Israelites and knew all about their affliction. They bowed low and they worshiped.
- Exodus 6:20 Amram married his aunt Jochebed and she had Aaron and Moses. Amram lived to be 137.
- Exodus 7:1-7 God told Moses, “Look at me. I’ll make you as a god to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to speak everything I command you, and your brother Aaron will tell it to Pharaoh. Then he will release the Israelites from his land. At the same time I am going to put Pharaoh’s back up and follow it up by filling Egypt with signs and wonders. Pharaoh is not going to listen to you, but I will have my way against Egypt and bring out my soldiers, my people the Israelites, from Egypt by mighty acts of judgment. The Egyptians will realize that I am God when I step in and take the Israelites out of their country.” Moses and Aaron did exactly what God commanded. Moses was eighty and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
- Exodus 17:10-13 Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle.
- Numbers 3:5-10 God spoke to Moses. He said, “Bring forward the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron so they can help him. They shall work for him and the whole congregation at the Tent of Meeting by doing the work of The Dwelling. Their job is to be responsible for all the furnishings of The Dwelling, ministering to the affairs of The Dwelling as the People of Israel come to perform their duties. Turn the Levites over to Aaron and his sons; they are the ones assigned to work full time for him. Appoint Aaron and his sons to minister as priests; anyone else who tries to elbow his way in will be put to death.”
- Numbers 18:1-4 [ Duties in the Tent of Testimony ] God said to Aaron, “You and your sons, along with your father’s family, are responsible for taking care of sins having to do with the Sanctuary; you and your sons are also responsible for sins involving the priesthood. So enlist your brothers of the tribe of Levi to join you and assist you and your sons in your duties in the Tent of Testimony. They will report to you as they go about their duties related to the Tent, but they must not have anything to do with the holy things of the Altar under penalty of death—both they and you will die! They are to work with you in taking care of the Tent of Meeting, whatever work is involved in the Tent. Outsiders are not allowed to help you.
- Luke 1:5-7 [ A Childless Couple Conceives ] During the rule of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Zachariah. His wife was descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God. But they were childless because Elizabeth could never conceive, and now they were quite old.
- Examples of Aaron performing miracles for God before Pharaoh.
- Exodus 7:8-12 Then God spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, “When Pharaoh speaks to you and says, ‘Prove yourselves. Perform a miracle,’ then tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh: It will turn into a snake.’” Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what God commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his servants, and it turned into a snake. Pharaoh called in his wise men and sorcerers. The magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their incantations: each man threw down his staff and they all turned into snakes. But then Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs.
- Exodus 7:19 God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and wave it over the waters of Egypt—over its rivers, its canals, its ponds, all its bodies of water—so that they turn to blood.’ There’ll be blood everywhere in Egypt—even in the pots and pans.”
- Exodus 8:5 God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Wave your staff over the rivers and canals and ponds. Bring up frogs on the land of Egypt.’”
- Exodus 8:16 [ Strike Three: Gnats ] God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and strike the dust. The dust will turn into gnats all over Egypt.’”
- Dealing with Griping Israel (Part 1)
- Exodus 16:1-10 On the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt, the whole company of Israel moved on from Elim to the Wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai. The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness. The Israelites said, “Why didn’t God let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You’ve brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!” Moses and Aaron told the People of Israel, “This evening you will know that it is God who brought you out of Egypt; and in the morning you will see the Glory of God. Yes, he’s listened to your complaints against him. You haven’t been complaining against us, you know, but against God.” Moses instructed Aaron: “Tell the whole company of Israel: ‘Come near to God. He’s heard your complaints.’” When Aaron gave out the instructions to the whole company of Israel, they turned to face the wilderness. And there it was: the Glory of God visible in the Cloud.
- Numbers 26:9-11 The sons of Eliab: Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. (These were the same Dathan and Abiram, community leaders from Korah’s gang, who rebelled against Moses and Aaron in the Korah Rebellion against God. The Earth opened its jaws and swallowed them along with Korah’s gang who died when the fire ate them up, all 250 of them. After all these years, they’re still a warning sign. But the line of Korah did not die out.)
- Numbers 15:32-35 Once, during those wilderness years of the People of Israel, a man was caught gathering wood on the Sabbath. The ones who caught him hauled him before Moses and Aaron and the entire congregation. They put him in custody until it became clear what to do with him. Then God spoke to Moses: “Give the man the death penalty. Yes, kill him, the whole community hurling stones at him outside the camp.”
- Numbers 16:1-3 [ The Rebels ] Getting on his high horse one day, Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, along with a few Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—rebelled against Moses. He had with him 250 leaders of the congregation of Israel, prominent men with positions in the Council. They came as a group and confronted Moses and Aaron, saying, “You’ve overstepped yourself. This entire community is holy and God is in their midst. So why do you act like you’re running the whole show?”
- Numbers 16:8-21 Moses continued with Korah, “Listen well now, sons of Levi. Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has selected you out of the congregation of Israel to bring you near him to serve in the ministries of The Dwelling of God, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them? He has brought you and all your brother Levites into his inner circle, and now you’re grasping for the priesthood, too. It’s God you’ve ganged up against, not us. What do you have against Aaron that you’re bad-mouthing him?” Moses said to Korah, “Bring your people before God tomorrow. Appear there with them and Aaron. Have each man bring his censer filled with incense and present it to God—all 250 censers. And you and Aaron do the same, bring your censers.”
So they all did it. They brought their censers filled with fire and incense and stood at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. Moses and Aaron did the same. It was Korah and his gang against Moses and Aaron at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. The entire community could see the Glory of God. God said to Moses and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from this congregation so that I can finish them off and be done with them.”
- Numbers 16:36-50 God spoke to Moses: “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, Gather up the censers from the smoldering cinders and scatter the coals a distance away for these censers have become holy. Take the censers of the men who have sinned and are now dead and hammer them into thin sheets for covering the Altar. They have been offered to God and are holy to God. Let them serve as a sign to Israel, evidence of what happened this day.” So Eleazar gathered all the bronze censers that belonged to those who had been burned up and had them hammered flat and used to overlay the Altar, just as God had instructed him by Moses. This was to serve as a sign to Israel that only descendants of Aaron were allowed to burn incense before God; anyone else trying it would end up like Korah and his gang.
Grumbling broke out the next day in the community of Israel, grumbling against Moses and Aaron: “You have killed God’s people!” But it so happened that when the community got together against Moses and Aaron, they looked over at the Tent of Meeting and there was the Cloud—the Glory of God for all to see. Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and fill it with incense, along with fire from the Altar. Get to the congregation as fast as you can: make atonement for them. Anger is pouring out from God—the plague has started!” Aaron grabbed the censer, as directed by Moses, and ran into the midst of the congregation. The plague had already begun. He put burning incense into the censer and atoned for the people. He stood there between the living and the dead and stopped the plague. Fourteen thousand seven hundred people died from the plague, not counting those who died in the affair of Korah. Aaron then went back to join Moses at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. The plague was stopped.