Summary: God takes sin seriously and so must I
I’m going to begin this morning by sharing a list of famous names and as I read each one, just shout out the first name that comes to mind:
• Tonto [Lone Ranger]
• Robin [Batman]
• Art Garfunkel [Paul Simon]
• Dr. Watson [Sherlock Holmes]
• Ed McMahon [Johnny Carson]
• Bert [Ernie]
By now, you’ve probably figured out that all of these people are sidekicks to someone famous, although in many cases they are just as famous as the person for whom they are a sidekick.
This morning, as we return to our journey through the Old Testament, we’re going to look at one aspect of the life of the man who was the sidekick to the most well-known and probably the most important figure in the entire Old Testament. And since we left off a few weeks ago with Moses, perhaps you’ve already figured out that I’m speaking of his brother Aaron.
We’re first introduced to Aaron back in Exodus chapter 4 after Moses tries to weasel out of the task that God is entrusting to him by claiming that he is not an eloquent speaker. So God tells Moses that Aaron will speak for him to the people of Israel. And for a long time Aaron served God and Moses faithfully in that role.
But God has something even more important in mind for Aaron. His plan is to entrust Aaron with what is undoubtedly the most difficult job on earth, one that God has also given to every one of us who are disciples of Jesus.
Now there are a lot of jobs that are difficult and dangerous – many that none of us here in this room would want to take on. Like these Chinese workers building a walkway for tourists while wearing no ropes or safety harnesses of any kind. But I’m confident that I’ll be able to demonstrate this morning that the job that God give to Aaron, and to us, is far more dangerous than that. But the rewards that go with the job certainly make it worth it
After the people are freed from slavery in Egypt God calls Moses to meet Him on Mt Sinai while Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel were to wait at the foot of the mountain for Moses to return from receiving the commandments from God. During the 40 days he was on the mountain, God gave Moses commands concerning the construction of the tabernacle and all its furnishings. We’ll look at the significance of the tabernacle in more detail in a couple of weeks.
God also gave instructions regarding the making of the priestly garments and the procedures for consecrating the priests. Those instructions are recorded in chapters 28-29 of Exodus.
But the people got impatient waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain so they talked Aaron into building a golden calf. Although we aren’t told specifically what was in Aaron’s heart after that rebellion against his brother and, more importantly, against God, I have to believe that Aaron was heartbroken and was worried that God would now find someone else to take on the role of priest.
Perhaps you’ve felt like that at some point in your life. I know I certainly have. Three have been times in my life when I have failed God so miserably that I wonder how God could still possibly use me.
But by the time we get to Leviticus chapter 8, we once again find God’s grace and mercy at work as we read about Aaron and his sons being installed as Israel’s priests. In chapters 8 and 9 of Leviticus, we read that Moses carefully carried out the instructions given to him earlier as well as the instructions God gave at that time.
You’ll want to go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Leviticus chapter 8 so that you can follow along this morning. I promise that I’m not going to read all of chapters 8-10, but I will be calling your attention to several passages in those three chapters. The book of Leviticus is the third book in the Bible, right after Genesis and Exodus.
[Read Leviticus 8:1-13]
Although I’m going to stop here for now, beginning in verse 14 and going through the end of the chapter, there is a detailed description of the sacrifices that were made by Aaron and his sons as they prepared to enter into the priesthood.
One of the things we commented about on Monday morning is just how complex and complicated the commands in chapters 8 and 9 are. I’m reminded of the first time that I was selected to be a line judge for a PAC-12 volleyball match. In the training that we went through we were given some very detailed instructions about the protocol we were to follow – exactly where to stand for the national anthem and when the teams were coming on the floor, exactly when to give the volleyballs we were carrying to the ball shaggers, when to start walking to our assigned positions during a time out and then when to walk back to our assigned positions after the time outs. Those instructions weren’t nearly as complicated as the ones here in Leviticus, but even after working several matches, I was always worried I might do something wrong and lose my job. So I have to think these commands would have created a great deal of anxiety for Aaron and his sons, since the stakes were much higher for them.