After the rebellion of Korah, we read about Aaron standing between the dead and the living. What an interesting display. Aaron stood between the dead and the living with the incense burning to purify the people. This incense was to make the people right with the Lord. He stood between them and the plague stopped.
This display foreshadows what is to come. Jesus Christ stands between God and us sinners, just as Aaron stood between the living people and the dead people. Remember, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). So we are the dead. God is life, we are dead in our transgressions. But Jesus Christ stands between God and us. He is the Lamb of God. He is our mediator. He is our High Priest. The Bible says that “He lives forever to intercede with God on (our) behalf.” He offered a “once for all” sacrifice. This sacrifice of His blood makes us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18, Revelation 7:14). We are right with God because we are clothed in His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
Today, remember Who stands between you and God. Remember the High Priest that we have- “He is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven.” Worship Him. Praise His great name. In Christ alone, my hope is found.
“He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague stopped.” – Numbers 16:48 [NLT]
“Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. He is the kind of high priest we need because He is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when He offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.” – Hebrews 7:25-27 [NLT]
God selected Moses and Aaron for special roles in leading His people. He also set apart the whole community of Israel. They were God’s chosen people, His special people. In Numbers 16, we read about the rebellion of Korah. The people united against Moses and Aaron. They stood up and claimed two things. The first was true- that all of the people of Israel are set apart. The second part was about greatness. Korah asked why Moses and Aaron acted like they were greater than the rest of the LORD’s people.
We don’t read a bunch of text talking about Moses and Aaron having pride issues. But Korah took the faithfulness of these brothers and made it seem as if they were acting as if they were above the people. The truth was that God placed them in a position above them. Korah was also in a special position. Verse 9 speaks about how they had this great position that allowed them to be near the Lord. However, that wasn’t enough for them. Moses and Aaron had a larger role in their eyes. As a result, they incited a rebellion.
Moses and Aaron allowed the Lord to intercede. Moses understood that it was God Who selected those who enter the presence of the Lord. Moses was a mere man. He also spoke about his calling and recalled “all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own.” He pointed to God as the One. God was behind everything. God allowed everything. It was Korah who had “gone too far.” Today, remember that God places each person in a position. Wherever He places you, rejoice in that position. Be thankful that He wants to use you. May you be a faithful, humble servant of the Lord!
“They united against Moses and Aaron and said, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the LORD, and He is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the LORD’s people?’ Then he said to Korah and his followers, ‘Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence.” And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things that I have done–for I have not done them on my own.’” – Numbers 16:3, 5, 28 [NLT]
Aaron and Miriam appear green with envy in Numbers 12, when they begin to criticize Moses, and speak about how the Lord speaks to them also. What was so great about Moses?!? The Lord commanded the three siblings to meet at the Tabernacle. Then He spoke to them about Moses. “He is the one I trust,” He said. “I speak to him face to face,” He said. “He sees the LORD as He is,” He said.
The Bible tells us that Moses was humble. He was “very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.” Now that’s humility! If we’d look up humility in the dictionary, perhaps we’d find Moses picture. God tells the siblings that it is Moses He trusts, Moses He speaks to face to face. Then He said that Moses sees Him as He is. Imagine that. Moses saw the LORD as He is. He saw Him. How did this happen? Moses was humble. In his humility, he desired to know the LORD deeply. He realized he was nothing without God, and he lived a life devoted to Him. God rewarded his humility. God revealed Himself to Moses in an intimate way.
If you find yourself not knowing much about God, not knowing God intimately, maybe you are not approaching with a humble heart—a heart that longs for God. Jesus gave us the perfect example of the humble servant. When we are able to empty ourselves, rid ourselves of self, we can focus on Him. We can listen more closely to Him. Our hearts are more open to Him. Today, ask God to help you to rid yourself of yourself. Ask for Him to help you become more humble so you desire and seek after Him.
“(Now Moses was very humble–more humble than any other person on earth.) But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the LORD as He is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” – Numbers 12:3, 7-8 [NLT]
In Numbers 8, we read about the instructions God gives Moses to share with Aaron regarding the lighting of the seven lamps. The light is a symbol of the presence of God among His people. The lampstand was within the Tabernacle; the lampstand was in the first section which was the Holy Place. Aaron and his sons were in charge of keeping the lamps forever lit. This points to Jesus Who is the true Light that will forever shine.
We read in this passage that Aaron was to place the lamps in the lampstand in such a way that their light would shine forward in front of the lampstand. If Aaron followed God’s command, the lamps would reflect their light forward. This is a great reminder of how the Light, the Truth of God which we find in His Word, can shine a light in this dark world.
Today, embrace the Light. Spend time in the Word of God. Spend time with Jesus Who is the Light, the true Light who gives light to everyone (John 1:9). Ask for the Light to shine forward in your life today. Ask that God use you to shine forth the Light wherever you are led.
“’Give Aaron the following instructions: When you set up the seven lamps in the lampstand, place them so their light shines forward in front of the lampstand.’ So Aaron did this. He set up the seven lamps so they reflected their light forward, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. – Numbers 8:2-3 [NLT]
Remember how Aaron led the people to sin, while his brother Moses was up on the mountain with the Lord? Remember how Moses came down from the mountain and in anger, he smashed the tablets—“These tables were God’s work; the words on them were written by God Himself” (Exodus 32:16 NLT) God had called Moses to come on the mountain and remain so He could give him “the tablets of stone on which… inscribed the instruction and commands so (Moses could) teach the people” (Exodus 24:12).
When you read about the tablets, you will note that God provided the tablets. “When the LORD finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18 NLT). Something changes. The people sin. The people surround Aaron and he asks for their gold to make a golden calf to worship.
Moses found out and broke the tablets and things are different. God tells Moses to chisel out the tablets. No longer does He provide the tablets. The Bible doesn’t say why God had Moses chisel out the tablets instead of providing the tablets like the first time. Many scholars believe it has something to do with repentance. Last time Moses was handed the tablets; this time the people would need to repent to receive tablets from the Lord. Today, consider what God is calling you to chisel out, how God is calling you to repentance.
“Then the LORD told Moses, ‘Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. I will write on them the same words that were on the tablets you smashed.’” – Exodus 34:1 [NLT]
I always get upset when I read Exodus 32, because as Moses is up on the mountain with the Lord, the people are again getting themselves in trouble. They surround Aaron and ask to make gods because they haven’t a clue what happened to Moses, the one who led them out of Egypt. Right after they approach Aaron, he immediately is asking for gold earrings. He doesn’t beat around the bush.
Aaron leads the people to sin. We see his immediate action is to answer their request and make a golden calf. He doesn’t stand up boldly for God. He doesn’t say, “Hey, let us wait for Moses.” He jumps right in headfirst. When Aaron’s sin is addressed, he is asked what the people did to him that caused him to “bring terrible sin upon” him. This leaves the door open for Aaron to confess to what he did. Instead, he points out “how evil these people are.”
In the case of Aaron, the people supplied the gold, but he fashioned the calf. When the people got excited, he built and altar and planned to worship the calf, just adding to the sin. When people sin, they are to blame for their actions. Even so, we never should be leading someone to sin. If we are bringing sin upon someone, we are guilty and in need of repentance.
“Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, ‘Tomorrow will be a festival to the LORD!’ Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, ‘What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?’ ‘Don’t get so upset, my lord,’ Aaron replied. ‘You yourself know how evil these people are.’” – Exodus 32:5, 21-22 [NLT]
Aaron had this sacred chestpiece that he had to have over his heart when he went into the Temple. This chestpiece was to remind him that he represented the people before the Lord. It was a sacred chestpiece. This was only one of many symbolic items we read about that we don’t follow today.
We no longer have a need to have someone wear a sacred chestpiece and go before the Lord to represent us. Because Jesus Christ died on the cross, the veil was torn. We no longer need a representative before the Lord. He fulfilled the Law. He is the Representative. He sits at the right hand of God. He intercedes on our behalf. The Spirit of God is poured out upon us so that even our groans can be understood.
Though nothing separates us from the love of God, we can allow our heart to keep us distanced (Romans 8:38-39). We can stifle the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). We can neglect the blessing we have to come before the Lord. We can cling to our filthy rags, and not enjoy the opportunity we have to dwell in His presence. Today, consider the last time you approached the throne of God. Embrace this awesome opportunity.
“In this way, Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the LORD.” – Exodus 28:29 [NLT]
The Israelites were quick to complain about God when they didn’t have their eyes on food. Just after God brought them out of Egypt, they forgot what He rescued them from, because they were hungry. Where was the food? We would be better off back in Egypt.
Even though the Israelites were complaining, God showed His glory to them. He didn’t withhold His glory. How awesome is that?!? He graciously allowed them to “see the awesome glory of the LORD in the cloud.”
Have you ever seen God’s glory? If you haven’t, you haven’t been looking. Despite each of us being sinners, He allows us to see His glory. Despite us often being ungrateful, He allows us to see His glory. Today, thank Him for His gracious ways. Thank Him for allowing us to experience Him—allowing us to see His glory!
“And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the LORD in the cloud.” – Exodus 16:10 [NLT]
Pharaoh thought that Moses and Aaron were distracting the people. When Moses and his brother went to Pharaoh to ask for the Israelites to be released, it was seen as something that would distract the people from their work. But as we consider God’s people, it is important to remember that this work they were doing for Pharaoh was not what they were meant to continue.
The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. God’s chosen people were enslaved in Egypt. This was not what God had planned for His people. Sadly, the people strayed and this was the consequence. Even so, God planned for redemption for His people. The true distraction was sin and the consequences of sin.
Sometimes we think some things are distractions when, in fact, other things are the true distractions. Today, ask the Spirit to reveal any true distractions in your life. Stay focused on the Kingdom work.
“Pharaoh replied, ‘Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work! Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work.’” – Exodus 5:4-5 [NLT]