Surpassing Glory

Aaron was a blessed man.

From his introduction in Scripture as the Robin to his brother Moses’ Batman, he rose to become the first high priest of his people; the ceremonial link between the Israelites and God. For it was on his shoulders that the sins of the people were borne and it was by the rites he performed that those sins were purged.

He spent his waking moments in the presence of God and he performed a role so important that he had to give up certain activities that would seem normal to you and I. His sex life was regimented, 1Exodus 19:15 funerals were a no-no 2Leviticus 21:11 and he was even prohibited from mourning the death of his children. 3Leviticus 10:6-7 And though he had his shortcomings, such as the golden calf incident, he took his duties very seriously. 4Exodus 32:1-6

In return, God blessed Aaron; flaws and all. Not only was he ordained the première high priest of the fledgling Jewish nation, his lineage was set aside as the occupiers of that great position for all eternity. In addition to that, he was clothed in robes made from rich material and adorned with jewels and precious metals. Special robes were also made for his sons, the high priests in waiting, and they too were given special positions to occupy and duties to perform in temple worship. 5Exodus 28; Leviticus 8

Glorified Aaron so desperately lusted after something he didn’t have.

God didn’t stop there. As if establishing a dynasty wasn’t enough, God went on to give Aaron, his sons and his entire lineage a portion of the choice cuts of meat separated from the offerings brought by the Israelites. 6Numbers 18:8-20 The entire tribe of Levites were given to him to assist him in administering his temple duties 7Numbers 3:9 and God gave himself to him as an inheritance! 8Numbers 18:20 As far as perks of the job go, this had to be the best. Clothes, check. Food, check. Numerous assistants, check. Eternal posterity and God as your inheritance, double check. He was to take care of God’s business and everything that pertained to him was sorted.

As high priest, Aaron was greatly glorified and one can only imagine the recognition and respect he enjoyed. But that didn’t seem to be enough for him. As odd as it may sound, glorified Aaron so desperately lusted after something he didn’t have. In the book of Numbers 9Numbers 12:1-2 we read of how Aaron and his sister Miriam sat down to spew what they felt about their brother Moses and his calling. In their words, they said:

“Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us?”

So what was it then that Moses had that Aaron didn’t? Power and authority over the Israelites? He had that. Face time in the presence of God? He had that. And if we count his wardrobe and feeding allowance, it would seem like he had much more than Moses. But there was something though, and the clue to knowing what it was can be found in a phrase God’s response. He said,

“Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” 10Numbers 12:6-8

So where God spoke in dreams to most prophets, with Moses his communication was more personal. They spoke face to face as friends and there were no secrets between them. 11Exodus 33:11 They had a relationship. Not a working partnership, but a deeper level of communication and friendship.

A relationship with God was worth more than all the blessing that life, and God himself, could give.

Aaron didn’t have this. So regardless of how blessed he was by God or finely clothed he was, it paled in comparison to how intimate Moses was with God.

Anyone would argue that Aaron got the better, more prosperous end of the stick. So he had no reason to be jealous. Heck, most wouldn’t have noticed that Moses had something special – they would’ve been too busy admiring their jewels and eating roast dinners. But Aaron knew differently and he knew something was missing. He understood something to which most of us are oblivious. He understood what was of true value. He knew that a relationship with God was worth more than all the physical, material or social blessing that life, and God himself, could give.

He may not have gone about it in the best of ways, but by his jealousy Aaron is and has been teaching the world a lesson we desperately need to learn. Simply put, that God is enough and anyone in an intimate relationship with him has all they could ever want or need. In fact, one in a relationship with him has much more than riches, wealth, power and authority.

Moses too teaches this same lesson. For when God was allocating blessing and honour to Aaron through him, Moses did not complain or ask for his share in the bounty. He also understood what was of true value. He knew that what he had with God more valuable than glorious bejewelled apparel, more valuable than a lineage of honour and privilege.

From Aaron we see that having material possessions and earthly blessing does not equate to a relationship with God, while Moses demonstrates that the lack of these material blessings is not an indicator of the absence of a relationship with God. For from both men we are reminded that earthly possessions are no marker of a relationship with God.

Regardless of how blessed Aaron was by God, it paled in comparison to how intimate Moses was with God.

It therefore behoves us as people who profess a relationship with God or who profess to earnestly seek him, to evaluate what it is we look to as markers of this relationship. We are guilty of propagating a gospel based on the concept that if we are in a relationship with God, poverty, sickness and lack will be things of the past; that by our faith in him riches are ours to claim and possess. From sprawling estates to expensive cars and private jets, we have decided that wealth and glory here on earth are the true indicators of a person or church that God is pleased with. So we hold conventions to teach people how to claim wealth and our sermons consistently focus on inspiring ourselves to attaining this divinely apportioned largesse.

We often forget that we are to taught to seek God first and all these things would be added to us, 12Matthew 6:33 for only in a relationship with him can true wealth and worth be found. That we become like Aaron and Moses, unfazed by physical and material blessing but seeking to be nourished and enlarged by a friendship with God – face to face. No secrets. That is surpassing glory.

Like Jesus said, the worth of a man does not lie in his wealth or his physical possessions. 13Luke 12:15 So also, let us take the time to examine our priorities and work at putting God and our relationship with him first.

God matters.

References   [ + ]

1. Exodus 19:15
2. Leviticus 21:11
3. Leviticus 10:6-7
4. Exodus 32:1-6
5. Exodus 28; Leviticus 8
6. Numbers 18:8-20
7. Numbers 3:9
8. Numbers 18:20
9. Numbers 12:1-2
10. Numbers 12:6-8
11. Exodus 33:11
12. Matthew 6:33
13. Luke 12:15

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