Numbers 20 part 2: A Eulogy for Aaron

Aaron was a man of humble beginnings. You wouldn’t think it if you saw him walk up the mountain with Moses and Eleazar the day he died, all dressed up in his priestly clothes. But he started out just like all our parents did: As a slave.

But don’t let that fool you. He was from good stock. His mother was willing to defy Pharaoh himself to protect her sons from his wrath. If that doesn’t set a guy up for success I don’t know what will.

Aaron was a family man. Even when his brother became a prince of Egypt and he stayed a slave. Even when Moses disappeared for forty years. Even when none of the elders believed in him. Even when Moses married a Moabite (though that took a little convincing!) Aaron stuck with him. The two of them were inseparable. One rarely saw one of them without the other.

He even took his sons with him into the family business, though I don’t think he had much say in the matter.

Aaron experienced more than most of us can ever dream of. Not only did he witness the LORD bringing Egypt to its knees, he joined in. He spoke the very words of God to the Pharaoh. He saw the Pharaoh’s heart as it contorted his face in anger. He hid from the plagues. He listened in horror as the firstborn of all Egypt died. And the next day he rejoiced with our people in our new freedom.

Aaron was an imperfect man. No doubt the tale of the golden calf will be told down through the generations and his name will ever be linked with it. I suppose he would be ok with that. He was never one to shy away from his own shortcomings. After all, he performed more sacrifices in the temple than I ever want to count!

Aaron was a man who suffered loss. He witnessed the tragic deaths of two of his sons when they offered the wrong incense. But he kept going, knowing that God had a call on his life and that he had a responsibility to lead his people.

Aaron was a fighter. Remember how I said he came from good stock? He didn’t give up. Our people were in a terrible battle. The only way we could prevail was if Moses held up his hands. But Moses was just a man and he grew tired. Aaron came along and held up his arms until the battle was finished.

And when the plague struck, he made atonement for us and stood between the living and the dead. What a boss!

It is a shame that he won’t be coming with us into the Promised Land. But I know this for sure: I would not have asked for a different or a better first High Priest. May his children make him proud.

So go, Aaron. Go and be gathered to your people.

Amen.

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