Peer pressure just sucks. There’s no two ways about it. Most often we think about peer pressure as something that happens only to teenagers, but any of us can succumb to the insidious pressure of those around us if we’re not careful.
Aaron, Moses’ brother, one of the leaders of the nation of Israel, knew the effects of peer pressure all too well in his life. While his brother was up on a mountain talking with God and receiving the Law, Aaron was swayed by the unruly Israelites to make a god out of metal for them to worship. Oh how fickle we as people can be!
In Exodus 32, God tells Moses to handle the people he’s responsible for leading (the Lord makes it clear, like a parent to their spouse, “get YOUR child”), and Moses does so in spectacular fashion. In no uncertain terms he lets Aaron and the rest of the nation know how big a deal it was that they had created an idol instead of worshiping the one true God. Imagine the guilt that Aaron would’ve felt: he was supposed to be a leader, one who was responsible for pointing people to God, yet he allowed himself to be swayed which led to the deaths of many people.
But even after this the Israelites continued on in their normal mode of operation, with Aaron being swayed along with them.
Cue more grumbling from the people.
Cue more rebelling from the people.
Cue more selfishness from the people.
Cue more arrogance from the people.
Then Miriam and Aaron rebelled against Moses and got a talking to by Daddy God – you know that wasn’t fun.
Over and over again, God affirmed who he had called Aaron to be, yet he was swayed by his own insecurities, fears, doubts, and opinions of others to be less than the leader and standard of the people of God he was made to be. But I like to believe that toward the end of his life Aaron finally got it. Though he had screwed up for years and years and years, the promise and the calling of God wasn’t going to be revoked – God was going to accomplish, through Aaron and his sons, what he had appointed.
The Golden calf debacle happened around 1446 BC.
Aaron and his sons were consecrated around 1445 BC.
Aaron was chosen by God in the sight of everyone in 1426 BC.
Aaron died and his son, Eleazar took over priestly duties in 1407 BC.
For years, Aaron let other voices crowd out the voice of God, but by the end of his life, he had stepped into the role of priest and leader and taught his sons how to lead well also. I believe that Eleazar learned how to perform the functions of a priest well because he saw his father do it first.
By the end of his life Aaron understood that he was called, chosen, a leader, and a man of God. He operated in that authority and called others to do the same.
Do you allow the voices of others or your own insecurities to crowd out the names God has called you? I know I do. It’s scary to accept titles like “forgiven”, “daughter”, “beloved”, and many more, but that doesn’t make them any less true. My desire is to live each day in response to those words and not the negative voice of doubt that can so easily cloud my mind. Let’s respond to the voice of God in faith today, accepting his perspective of us as truth!
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