I think this scripture passage is beautiful; not with poetic grace, but with the bold, wildly undeserved, and redeeming grace of God.
Only Aaron and his descendants
served as priests.
They presented the offerings
on the altar of burnt offering
and the altar of incense,
and they performed all the other duties
related to the Most Holy Place.
They made atonement for Israel
by doing everything that Moses,
the servant of God,
had commanded them.
1 Chronicles 6:49
Aaron didn’t earn the honor of performing the duties of the Most Holy Place; nor did he deserve to make atonement for Israel.
While his brother, Moses, was consumed within the holy presence of I AM WHO I AM on top of Mt. Sinai; Aaron was busy too, leading the LORD’s people astray at the bottom of the very same mountain.
And when Moses’ hands reached out to receive the two stone tablets, still warm from the hand of God; Aaron’s hands were reaching out to cast melted gold earrings into a golden calf.
God definitely noticed; and even interrupted Moses’ time with him on the mountaintop to say:
…Hurry back down!
Those people you led out of Egypt
are acting like fools.
When he reached the bottom, Moses found Aaron leading a wild drunken revelry of worship around the lifeless idol.
When confronted, Aaron denied responsibility; and then claimed that he’d only thrown the earrings into the fire and the calf jumped out fully formed.
Judgmental words leap to the front of my mind at this point in the story and I want to blast Aaron. But if that’s where I stop, I’ll miss the best part of the story; because God, boldly and inexplicably, stepped in and cleaned up the mess.
He took Aaron’s dirty hands, guilty heart and lying tongue and redeemed him; and Aaron could then perform the most sacred duties of the Most Holy Place.
God uses unlikely people. And he knew, even before he laid the foundation of the earth, that someday I’d need his transformational gift too—because at the heart of it all…
I’m just like Aaron.