Sunday, February 12, 2012

Offense or Defense?

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 "He (Moses) said to Aaron, 'What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?'  'Do not be angry, my lord,' Aaron answered. '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 god jewelry, take it off.  Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.'"  Exodus 32: 21-24
I read this section of the Old Testament this morning as part of my chronological reading of the bible in one year.  I started chuckling at Aaron's response to  Moses question.  Chuckling in a I-cannot-believe-you-just-said-that kind of way.  It was one of those moments, though when I've started to look down upon Aaron and then God looks me in the eyes and says, "You mean you can't identify?"  And I say, "What?" and He says, "Hmmmm."  And then I look away and think a moment and I repent because perhaps I have been guilty of shifting the blame...a time or two.

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And that's what's happening here.  Aaron desperately seeks to shift any blame for this traitorous worship onto the "people prone to evil." The line I love the most, though, is the one where he says he just threw in the gold and the calf just magically materialized.  Must have been a pretty smart fire or some talented gold there.  And then I also wonder how Moses must have felt being called "this fellow" as if the people, as if his brother, had no investment in their relationship.  As if he was some random person that had only been living among them for a short while.  I wonder if Moses took this personally.  I would have.

How have I played in the role of Aaron?  How often do I shift blame to cover up my sins at the expense of exposing someone else to hurt?  How often does someone come to me, telling me how I have hurt them, and my first response is not repentance but of defense?  And what better defense than deflection or marginalization or feigned innocence?

And how often, when I feel marginalized or unimportant, I rattle off all my accomplishments, all my sacrifices, all my...whatever?  How many times have I taken personally that were never meant to enter into my heart?

I have a lot to learn from Moses in this instance.  He doesn't take any of this and bury it in his heart.  He realizes that it has nothing to do with him.  His response to Aaron?

"Whoever is for the LORD, come to me." (verse 26)

Moses knows his job.  He is a servant and a mouthpiece for God.  And this shapes his entire perspective.  When Aaron's words come hurtling toward Him, Moses does not defend himself, but He fights for God.  He doesn't listen to the lies, but presses on toward the truth.

Who do you identify with most in this story?  What helps you be more like Moses?  What factors influence you in the times you react like Aaron?

Linking with Michelle at Graceful (Monday) and Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus (Wednesday).

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13 comments :

  1. I love how you push yourself to look at the hard junk that clutters our lives...So like Aaron but working to change. Insightful post, friend.

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  2. Great post.

    As I was reading this scripture as I'm reading thro the Bible this year - I was shocked that Aaron would have allowed this. It hadn't been that long since he had taken part in the miracles that helped to release the Israelites from Egypt.

    They're memories and his were so short. It didn't seem like Aaron tried very hard to encourage the people.

    We know that God wanted Moses to go to the Israelites and bring them out. But Moses said he could not speak and couldn't do it. So God became angry and said something like "well your brother, Aaron, can speak well". God then arranged that he would give the words and wisdom to Moses, who would tell them to Aaron. Aaron then would talk to the people.

    I wonder if part of that disobedience played a role here? Moses had been up on the mountain for a long time. Aaron had not received any words from Moses since Moses ascended to the mountain top. Aaron was not the person given the words and wisdom to speak. Moses had. So we see Aaron here speaking and thinking on his own. Do you suppose that was the issue here?

    Whatever the reason - our memories of God's goodness are short.

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    1. Janet -- I think your insight is amazing and spot on. I never thought much about the repercussions of Moses using Aaron as a mouthpiece. And, I didn't think about how the people might have naturally gone to Aaron as the main authority figure instead of Moses because he wasn't in front. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I feel so enriched!!

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    2. That's a really great insight, Janet. Of course, Aaron could speak well, but obedience was what God was after -- great thing to think about. We'll never know how it could have been had Moses not tarried in his obedience. So convicting. Thank you.

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    3. A great insight...thinking and speaking upon his own...how often do I do that when those who I am over in leadership come & ask for something that I think I'm suppose to have an answer for. Instead, I need to wait & seek a word from the Word. (Even if it might take 40 days!)

      Thanks for all the great insight. Good food for thought. Another thing...it seems that this instance is not what kept Aaron out of the promised land...hmmmmm. Interesting. This seems pretty huge to me. Hmmmm. I will keep pondering this.

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  3. i'm one of the millions. blindly following. so precious to have a discerning husband who can help me know to whom to listen!

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  4. Love your analysis. I, too, have poked at Aaron for his ridiculous explanation, but I hadn't taken time to consider Moses' response.

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  5. I know I tend to dodge or shift blame because I really, really want everyone to think I'm perfect.
    As a kid, my main trigger was a point-blank question from a teacher, such as: "Did you talk in line?" If guilty, I would go into full stammer mode and deny it. Probably never convinced anyone.

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    1. Oops, I didn't identify myself very well. Janice Johnson here. Not a soldier; that's just my latest post.

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  6. I am reading chronologically this year as well...so this is fresh in my mind. Fun to know we are doing the same thing, huh? Any way I wrote a piece about Moses this week...Moses and God's glory. I want His glory to be seen on my face...I really do...

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  7. Oh, I've never thought about Moses and Aaron in this way. Thanks for sending me back into the scriptures to wrestle through that story again today. Love the way you ponder. I'm linking up with you today at the Overflow! Thanks for last week's invite.

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  8. I'm reading the One Year Chronological Bible too, and I also chuckled when I read Aaron's response. "Out came this calf!" As in, voila! I've been pondering his statement and thinking about writing about it too. It seems so outlandish, but as you so aptly point out, I'm sure there have been times I have been guilty of similar outlandish excuses. Great post.

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  9. Oh this is good. So good, Jen.

    You have me re-reading that passage in a whole new light. And now I'm chuckling, too. :)

    Also, .... Thank you for the reminder about the time-frame for your link-up. I love to link with you, and haven't done so for a few weeks. I'm so glad you linked to our community, and I would like to do the same here again soon. Hopefully next week!

    Love you.

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