It has been said throughout history, “Now you have really crossed the line.” Many, if not most often was said to those who made stupid (STUPID) decisions. Crossing the ‘line,’ declares once on the other side chaos is the potential reality. The line. You know, the place where good and bad stand facing each other. Ever find yourself there? Standing either on the line, straddling it or now … just inches beyond. Regret is the instant response. Crossing the line.
Aaron of the Old Testament was a line crosser. Exodus 32. Painting the scene: Moses was up on the Mount with God, God was etching the Law on the Tablets. While this was happening, chaos below. The people grew restless (‘restless’ sermon in itself, for another time) Aaron was left in charge. Leadership was not new to him, being Moses’ brother, he was at his side confronting Pharaoh in Egypt, he was there when Manna and Quail was provided to the people, he along with Hur held up Moses’ arms in the battle against the Amalekites. Now. Now the folks come to AARON frustrated and lost, “Do something… make us gods to follow…” The line. Aaron instructs them to take off all their jewelry, handing it to him, the narratives says he used a tool and HE shaped the image into a calf. (sigh) Placing the idol in front of an altar and the people, chaos began. He truly crossed the line.
God sent Moses back down to the people, out of disgust, Moses carrying the Tablets, threw them, breaking them to pieces. Moses confronts all. Aaron still on the ‘other side’ of the line, responds “Do not be angry, you know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him. So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” Hm … interesting. He actually went with the ‘oh, looky there, a calf…’ explanation. Other side, lying.
As the people ran wild, Moses stood at the entrance to the camp, declaring “those who are for the LORD, come…” The line drawn. A new line for Aaron. Immediately ALL the Levites rallied to Moses. You see, here is where we pause, Aaron is a Levite. Aaron crossed the line AGAIN. He crossed back. The folks were instructed to grab a sword, three thousand died that day. Not much more was said about Aaron in this chapter, however it is said that Moses interceded for the people AND Aaron (Deut. 9)
What AMAZES me, Aaron crossed the line and made that HUGE bad decision …yet and yet, God. Forgiveness runs deep, so very deep. God chose him to be a priest. Going on to stand before the people, representing the holiness of God. “Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down. Moses and Aaron then went into the Tent of Meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.” – Leviticus 9:22-24 Notice the fire of God consumed the offerings, and NOT Aaron, wonder if there was just a little ‘ducking’ on Aaron’s part. (kidding)
Some would say, “but Aaron …” Flipping our pages ahead to Numbers 16-17, Korah, Dathan and Abiram spark a ‘coup’ challenging Aaron’s priesthood, God opened up the ground and swallowed them up – THEN there was a plague on those who sympathized with the rebellion, Aaron was told to go and stand between the living and the dead, offering incense, the plague stopped. Following this, God told Moses to take a rod from each tribal leader (Aaron included) write their names on their rod, place the rods in the Tent of Meeting, the one that buds, HE is the one chosen for priesthood. The next morning, guess which rod had budded? Yup, Aaron’s representing the tribe of Levi, God saw fit to cause it not only to bud, but it had blossoms and actual almonds on it!
How many of us have been where Aaron was, made some really STUPID decisions, crossed the wrong line, found our lives in chaos. God in His most gracious love, offers ‘cross the line again’ opportunities. His forgiveness running deep. Just like Aaron, the opportunity was there, he immediately stepped forward, God used him mightily. Or perhaps you stand now rubbing your toe against the line, wondering… just wondering. Stop.
Life is not meant to be a hopscotch game, stepping and hopping from one line to the other, yet when the line is crossed, CROSS BACK.
I love Kings David’s Psalm 133. “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” Beautiful.
Crossing the line, AGAIN.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)