Last week we saw how Moses, God’s man of the hour used open and honest communication when talking to the Lord. As any leader, he faced joys, sorrows and disappointments with those he led. Even though the Lord warned him of what his people were doing while he was up on the mountain with God, hearing the people raucously partying while honoring a false idol was too much for him. His anger caused him to throw down the stone tablets God, himself, had written on. This leader, in order to preserve God’s reputation argued with God when the Lord wanted to destroy them. Possibly Moses’ discussion with the Lord about not destroying the people was accurate, but at that time more theory and when the reality of the people’s sin, he was overcome.
Loving people in theory is always easy. Reading instructions in the Bible to feed the hungry, to care for the widows, to take care of the sick is not too difficult. Reading about how we need to forgive to be forgiven might be a bit more difficult, but in theory it is easy to say yes.
When Moses came down off the mountain he came face to face with the fact his own brother’s character. Aaron had been his spokesman during the conflict with Pharaoh. He was his right hand man so to speak. I am sure they had many conversations about the amazing miracles God did for them. They shared history. They shared the triumph of the miracle of the Red Sea. Let’s speculate that while Moses was up on the mountain, he too had begun to have doubts. Maybe he began to wonder, suppose something happened to him, and I am going to be the leader? Perhaps the people voiced his own fears, which is why he quickly collected the gold, oversaw the melting of it and the casting of the mold into the golden calf. It was Aaron who authorized the celebration of the idol. (Exodus 32)
We can assume that, when, Moses asked who is on the Lord’s side, Aaron joined Moses. He probably was part of the Levite team that helped mete out God’s punishment. We can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Aaron had spoken faith, encouragement to trust the Moses and His God if three thousand people’s lives would have been saved. Living loved means not forgiving in theory, but in reality. It is not easy, but the more we know we are loved, the easier it becomes to forgive and love others.
We can learn at least two things from this story. Our actions matter. We affect others by our faithful words, or our doubt filled words. We may be the Aaron for someone who needs to forgive us and our actions, or we may be Moses who continues to lead flawed people. Probably in our lifetime, we are both. Let’s keep on living loved and loving the best we can.