Heroes and Villains: Aaron and Moses


One thing that has always fascinated me are those before and after photos you see of previous US presidents. These photos show the president at the very beginning of his time in office as well as when he leaves office. Usually, you see these photos side-by-side and you see a younger looking man going in and a much older looking man coming out. The transformation needs only four years to make the president look extremely gray. 

In this transformation, we understand that so much lies behind the scenes. They've taken on a position where no matter what decision is made, they will never win in the public's eyes. We look at our leaders and criticize their choices without all the information. We criticize the impossible decisions that they make every single day. You've got to think that the amount of stress contributes to their physical transformation, even without the help of public opinion. 

I think the other thing that we overlook is the mantle of responsibility that God places on their shoulders. We may not agree that God places certain candidates in office to be our leaders, but the Bible says otherwise. I believe that it isn't our governmental leaders that God promotes to our leaders, but also workplace, familial, and church leaders. The weight of God's anointing is heavier than the world realizes. The more people under our leadership, the heavier the weight. One such story about the weight of God's calling to leadership can be found in the book of Numbers. 

Read Numbers 16-17

Here, we have a few select individuals from a few select tribes in Israel speaking up against Aaron and Moses. 

They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?’
— Numbers 16:3 ESV

This rebellion set off a chain of events that started with Moses falling on his face and ending with the destruction of these individuals. What's even more puzzling is that Israel witnesses the rebellion and the destruction and the very next day...

But on the next day all the congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, ‘You have killed the people of the Lord.’
— Numbers 16:41 ESV

This time, God is angry (just like He had been the day before) and He sent out a plague. Moses instructs Aaron to make atonement for the people of Israel and he does so. 

So Aaron took it as Moses said and ran into the midst of the assembly. And behold, the plague had already begun among the people. And he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped.
— Numbers 16:47-48 ESV

What so amazes me about this whole scene is that Aaron and Moses had been wronged. Israel's offense was against God, Aaron, and Moses but look at how Aaron and Moses respond. First, they fall to their face and intercede for Israel. Then Aaron made atonement for the people. They worked hard for the health and safety of the people, despite the congregation having been in the wrong. This shows their heart for the people they were leading! They could have just stepped back and watched God do His thing, but instead, they tried to persuade God to turn away from His wrath and preserve His people, despite their rebellion. Talk about the weight of leadership! They chose to do right by the very people who had wronged them!

What we learn from Aaron and Moses' leadership:

Their response to God's wrath was intercession. Moses and Aaron had been wronged and they chose intercession. When our enemies wrong us (or our loved ones wound us), what is our first reaction? Do we choose to intercede or do we choose vengeance? Aaron worked hard to stop the plague and found himself standing between the living and the dead. Are you willing to stand in the gap for your enemies? Are you willing to stand in the gap for those who have wounded or misunderstood you? Are you willing to stand in the gap for those who don't understand the mantle of leadership God has placed on your shoulders?

God chooses our leaders, even when we may not be happy with the way they lead. He chooses our leaders even when we feel our leaders aren't keeping their promises. We don't know what lies behind the scenes. We don't know what God is laying on our leaders' hearts to do, not to do, what to accomplish and what not to accomplish. We don't know if God is telling them to wait or proceed. We don't know what direction that God may lead our leaders. BUT... do we trust that God is ultimately in control? Do we trust that God is in charge and leading our leaders, even when we simply don't understand where they're going? Can we commit to interceding for our leaders and trusting God with our leaders and ourselves?

Ultimately, Israel's grumbling was against God. They didn't trust that God was in control. They didn't trust in His leadership. They wanted control and influence where God had said no. They chose to rebel against His leadership, against His leading, against Him. By choosing to step away from God, they willingly stepped outside of His protection. When we choose to grumble against our leaders, whether we think we understand what our leaders are doing or not, we're choosing to step outside of the boundaries of His protection. When we choose to grumble against our leaders, we're telling God that He isn't sovereign, He isn't in control, He isn't doing a good enough job. Are we willing to hurt His heart with our own selfishness, pride, and rebellion?

When God puts someone in charge, it's up to Him to confirm them. In Numbers 17, God proves to the nation of Israel who He had chosen. He proves that it wasn't Aaron and Moses who exalted them as leaders, it was Him. It was His decision. He gave Israel a sign of who their chosen leader truly was when Aaron's staff budded. He solved and ended this argument once and for all. If you find yourself unsatisfied with your own leaders, pray for them and ask God to confirm their leadership. Ask Him to prove that He has chosen them. Let Him satisfy that question in your mind.

The choice is yours. Will you choose to grumble against your leaders or stand in the gap for them? Will you choose to stay in God's protection or step outside of it? Will you choose to trust God or tell Him that He isn't doing a good enough job? Will you choose vengeance against those under your authority when they grumble against you or will you choose to stand in the gap and pray for them? 

Let's Discuss! Comment Below!
What do Aaron and Moses teach you about leadership?