Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron’s sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. (Exodus 28:1)
The selection of Aaron and his sons to be priests unto God has always been interesting to me. All the living sons of Aaron and those who were born to his sons later were automatically considered to be God’s priests. In other words, they were born into this calling and, to some degree, had no say in the matter — it was what they did. What has fascinated me about this is the fact that Aaron’s track record, in service to God, wasn’t the greatest. It was he who, when pressed by the people, fashioned the golden calf in defiance of the command to “Make no other gods.”
When Moses left Aaron and the rest of Israel to ascend Sinai, he obviously placed some degree of responsibility upon Aaron to make sure that things didn’t get our of hand. I say that because, upon finding the people worshiping the golden idol, Moses chastened Aaron and asked him, “Why did you bring this great sin upon the people?” Furthermore the Bible tells us that Aaron “did not restrain the people” (Exodus 32:25) indicating that restraining them from doing such was exactly what he had been responsible to do. In a nutshell, Aaron repeated the error committed by Adam in the garden — he did not guard against the lure of the Adversary and his seductive ways. As a result, the people of Israel partook of something that was unclean.
So then, considering that the priests were given the responsibility to serve in the sanctuary and to guard against any incursion upon its sanctity, was Aaron given priesthood as a reward or as a consequence? For the rest of his life, it was his duty and the duty of his sons to instruct the people to discern the difference between clean and unclean — something he had failed to do previously.
In light of this, let us consider ourselves. All who are followers of Messiah have, in times past, failed to distinguish between clean and unclean and have engaged in things regarded as unholy. Nevertheless, because we are in Messiah, we are regarded as “a royal priesthood,” and as such, are charged with distinguishing between what is holy and what is not. Not only do we have the responsibility to live holy lives, we have the responsibility to teach others what is holy and what is not. It is our duty to do all we can to “restrain the people” rather than to give into their whims. Regardless of the circumstance, as faithful priests, we must always stand for the truth.
Blessings and Shalom,