The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Part 3

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Does God have a plan for your life? Sounds like a simple question, but you’d be surprised how few Christians have ever thought about it. Truth is, a lot of us don’t even have a plan for our own lives, so it makes sense not to think too hard about whether or not God has one or not. Most Christians, like most people in general, let life happen to them; they react to things that are happening around them, much like a shirt blowing in the wind.

But life never just “happens” to anybody. God really does have a plan for you. He has a plan for everybody, by the way, not just for His people. Keith Green used to say this about the whole issue:

God has a plan for everybody’s life. If you’re an unbeliever, God’s plan for you is hell.

He wasn’t wrong about that. But for His people, God’s plan involves work for Him. Let’s take a look at Aaron. God had a plan for his life that had nothing to do with that whole golden calf thing, proving anybody can make a mistake.

Doing it the wrong way

Speaking of God’s plan for His people, that plan isn’t always sunshine and buttercups. Case in point:

The sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.” (Genesis 15:12 – 14 | TNIV)

That was some plan. But, after those four centuries had run their course, God revealed Himself to a man named Moses and God gave Moses His plan for that man’s life.

Now I going to send you to Pharaoh, to demand that he let you lead my people out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:10 | TLB)

As with all of God’s plans, God had involved himself with the plight of His people. He saw them, He heard them, and He knew what they were going through in Egypt. Why wouldn’t He? That they were even there was part of His plan! It may have seemed to them that He had abandoned them, but that was never the case.

God is constantly aware of what’s going on around us, and He is always acting in the world, as Paul taught in Acts 17:

His purpose in all of this is that they should seek after God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him-though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and are! As one of your own poets says it, ‘We are the sons of God.’ (Acts 17:27, 28 | TLB)

But, the Lord moves in history when He will, not when we may want Him to. And in this case, the Lord was moved to deliver His people and He was going to use Moses to do that. True, God could have delivered Israel by His word alone, but He chose to work through a man. Moses, though, wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of being drafted, and to say he was reluctant would be an understatement. He believed he lacked the abilities to do the work and he believed the task was all but impossible. God reassured Moses over and over and over, and Moses kept on bringing up reasons why he was the wrong man for the job. Had you or I been God, we likely would have passed on Moses altogether. But the Lord is patient, as evidenced by this exchange:

But Moses pleaded, “O Lord, I’m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after you have spoken to me, for I have a speech impediment.” “Who makes mouths?” Jehovah asked him. “Isn’t it I, the Lord? Who makes a man so that he can speak or not speak, see or not see, hear or not hear? Now go ahead and do as I tell you, for I will help you to speak well, and I will tell you what to say.” (Exodus 4:10 – 12 | TLB)

But even that wasn’t enough. Enter Aaron:

Then the Lord became angry. “All right,” he said, “your brother, Aaron, is a good speaker. And he is coming here to look for you and will be very happy when he finds you. So I will tell you what to tell him, and I will help both of you to speak well, and I will tell you what to do. He will be your spokesman to the people. And you will be as God to him, telling him what to say.” (Exodus 4:14 – 16 | TLB)

Doing the right thing in the wrong way?

If Moses tried the Lord’s patience, Aaron must have been a pleasant surprise. Apparently Aaron was on board from the get-go; at least we have no record of any hesitation on his part.

Now Jehovah said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So Aaron traveled to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God, and met Moses there, and they greeted each other warmly. Moses told Aaron what God had said they must do, and what they were to say, and told him about the miracles they must do before Pharaoh. So Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt and summoned the elders of the people of Israel to a council meeting. Aaron told them what Jehovah had said to Moses, and Moses performed the miracles as they watched. (Exodus 4:27 – 30 | TLB)

There are rare people like Aaron; people who seem never to question or struggle with the will of God. But it should be noted that while Aaron didn’t go through the doubts Moses went through, and though he didn’t argue or debate with the Lord either, he did easily yield to the wishes of the people in forging the golden calf. It is possible to “leap without looking” when it comes to our service to the Lord. Even Jesus advised His followers to “count the cost” of following Him.

Together, these two brothers shared what God had told them and what God had done with the people, doing exactly what the Lord wanted them to do.

Aaron told them what Jehovah had said to Moses, and Moses performed the miracles as they watched. (Exodus 4:30 | TLB)

The response of the people was not unlike the response of Aaron:

Then the elders believed that God had sent them, and when they heard that Jehovah had visited them and had seen their sorrows, and had decided to rescue them, they all rejoiced and bowed their heads and worshiped. (Exodus 4:31 | TLB)

These folks were absolutely ready for the Lord to deliver them, but they had no idea the magnitude of the sacrifice they would be called to make; no idea of the self-denial, the self-control, and even the suffering that was to come. Yes, these people were desperate for their freedom, but wanting and admiring freedom in the abstract is very different from doing what it takes to get it and keep it. It’s the same way with people today. Sinners hear the gospel; they hear what Jesus can do for them and clamor for salvation, not realizing the life of discipline and commitment that lay ahead.

Fearless and faithful

So Moses told the people what God had said, but they wouldn’t listen anymore because they were too dispirited after the tragic consequence of what he had said before. (Exodus 6:8b | TLB)

Chapter 6 of Exodus is an interesting chapter. It begins on a kind of sour note. So far, the two brothers hadn’t had much success. The more they confronted Pharaoh, the harder he made things for the Hebrews in Egypt. The Living Bible says they had become “dispirited,” but that must surely be an understatement! All their hopes were pinned on these two brothers.

Yet just as the story takes off, it is interrupted by, of all things, a genealogy! And beginning with verse 14, we have to wade through yet another genealogy. And yet, it wasn’t just “another” genealogy. It begins with the three oldest sons of Israel, but the real purpose of this genealogy is to stress the priestly tribe of Levi. Kohath is the head of that particular line, and two of his sons are important: Izhar (father of Korah) and Amram (father of Aaron and Moses). Through Aaron, the family line carries on to Eleazar and through him to Phinehas – who served in the Tabernacle. Keep in mind Aaron and Moses are some four generations from Israel. It’s not insignificant that the line does not carry on through Moses but through Aaron. Moses was the prophet of his day, through whom the Lord spoke during the foundation of the nation. But it would be the priests, through Aaron, who would build upon that foundation.

That’s not to say Moses wasn’t an important figure in Hebrews history.  He was.  Dwight L. Moody quipped,

Moses spent 40 years in Pharaoh’s court thinking he was somebody, 40 years in the desert learning he was nobody, and 40 years showing what God can do with a somebody who found out he was a nobody.

That’s the truth! In Pharaoh’s eyes, Moses had become as God, due to the miracles he performed in the royal court. Moses wasn’t acting on his own strength, but he was trusting on the power of God.

But I will cause Pharaoh to stubbornly refuse, and I will multiply my miracles in the land of Egypt. Yet even then Pharaoh won’t listen to you; so I will crush Egypt with a final major disaster and then lead my people out. The Egyptians will find out that I am indeed God when I show them my power and force them to let my people go.” So Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three at this time of their confrontation with Pharaoh. (Exodus 7:3 – 7 | TLB)

And the really amazing thing is that these two brothers were doing all this when they were over 80 years of age! Age is never, ever a factor is serving the Lord. And a servant of God never retires from that position!

Chosen and anointed as priests

God chose Moses’ brother Aaron and his descendants to serve as priests.  Until this time, only Moses was the mediator between man and God. But now, that duty would fall upon Aaron’s family.

Consecrate Aaron your brother, and his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, to be priests, to minister to me. Make special clothes for Aaron, to indicate his separation to God-beautiful garments that will lend dignity to his work. Instruct those to whom I have given special skill as tailors to make the garments that will set him apart from others, so that he may minister to me in the priest’s office. This is the wardrobe they shall make: a chestpiece, an ephod, a robe, an embroidered shirt, a turban, and a sash. They shall also make special garments for Aaron’s sons. (Exodus 28:1 – 4 | TLB)

The priests had special clothing that served to set them apart from all other Hebrews. This is holiness manifested. This is typical of the inner purity of all of God’s people. But these special clothes were also designed for glory and beauty. For anybody to go into God’s presence without taking the time to care for his appearance would be inconsistent, given the beauty of the Tabernacle. God, the author of all that is good and all that is beautiful, wants his people to reflect that glory and that beauty in their worship of Him.

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