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. 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.
Crossing the line.
Aaron of the Old Testament was a line crosser. Exodus 32. Setting the context: Moses was up on the Mount with God; God was etching the Law on the Tablets (and giving the blueprint for the Tabernacle AND giving the instruction for the priesthood – for Aaron). While this was happening – chaos below. The people grew restless. 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, and when the rock gushed water. He, along with Hur, held up Moses’ arms in the battle against the Amalekites. Now. Now the folks come to AARON frustrated and lost, saying, “Do something… make us gods to follow…”
Aaron responds by instructing them to take off all their jewelry, handing it to him, the narrative says he used a tool and he (Aaron) shaped the image into a calf. (Heavy sigh on the part of the readers). Placing the idol in front of an altar and the people – chaos. 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 across “the line” states, “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. Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf” (vv22-24). Hm … interesting. He actually went with the “Oh, looky there, a calf.” (*See note below of Moses interceding for the people and Aaron).
As the people ran wild, Moses stood at the entrance to the camp, declaring “Those who are for the LORD, come…” (v26). 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 and about three thousand died that day. (There are consequences to running wild in and with the chaos).
What AMAZES me, Aaron crossed the line and made that HUGE bad, very icky bad decision. 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 (See Lev 9; Nu 6:22-27).
How many of us have been where Aaron was, made some really STUPID decisions, crossed the wrong line, found our lives in chaos and not to mention (but I will) chaos too for those around us. God in His most gracious love offers “cross the line again” opportunities. Cross back to where we belong. His forgiveness running deep. Just like Aaron, the opportunity was there, he immediately stepped forward. God used him mightily. Perhaps you stand now rubbing your toe against the first line, wondering – just wondering, what’s on the other side?
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.”
A restored line.
Have you crossed the line? God offers the most easy and soul fixing opportunity: John writing to Christians, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9). When we mess up, we come to God and get cleaned up (crossing back). Biblical confession literally means: to concede, come into agreement. In this case, agreement with God. Confessing is not only saying we are wrong, but we are also saying God is RIGHT. Crossing back, is coming into alignment with the rightness of God. (Let’s stay there).
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrew 10:24)
*See Deut 9:7-21 – a recap of the Exodus 32 calf scenario – God was very angry, “I have seen this people and they are a stiff-necked people indeed! Let me alone, so that I may destroy them… and the LORD was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him.” (vv13,14 & 20) – Moses interceded. May we be a Moses to those we love, who have crossed the line – intercede.