This past month, during my devotions, I was introduced to an idea that had never occurred to me before: the difference between Moses and Aaron. For those who might not be familiar with the story, when the Israelites came out of Egypt during the Exodus they were led by Moses. Moses had a brother named Aaron, who was selected by God to be the High Priest of the Hebrew people. After they left Egypt and were traveling through the wilderness, God led them to Mount Sinai. It was there that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. However, it was also there that Aaron took gold jewelry from the people and fashioned a calf out of the metal for the people to worship. He did this because Moses had been on the mountain for so long that the people feared that he was dead. The people wanted a god to follow, so they asked Aaron to make a god that looked like the gods of Egypt that they were familiar with. Aaron did. As the people were worshipping the golden calf, Moses returned down the mountain with the Ten Commandments.
The primary difference between Moses and Aaron—two brothers who were both servants of God—is not that one was a good leader and the other wasn’t. In fact, we know that Moses was actually very reluctant to lead and needed Aaron to speak for him in public. The difference wasn’t that Moses was strong and Aaron was weak. The difference wasn’t that one was smart and the other stupid. The key difference between Moses and Aaron is that Moses listened to God and Aaron listened to the people.
Aaron felt the pressures of the people all around him and was never really able to “hear above the noise.” Moses, on the other hand, did the hard work of separating himself from the noise, going off on his own, and listening for God. Aaron was shaped by the need to please people and Moses was shaped by the need to please God. In today’s world, there are many pressures that push in all around us. There’s a lot of noise that is difficult to block out. However, it is the duty (and privilege) of Christians to do the hard work of blocking out the noise, shutting out the distractions, and listening for God. That is the difference between a righteous person and an unrighteous person.
Maybe you need to go onto a mountain for that. Maybe you need to tell some people to be quiet. Maybe you need to remove some distractions from you. For each of us, the path will be different. However, for each of us, the goal is the same: stop listening to people and start listening to God. Don’t try to please people. Try to please God. Be like Moses, not Aaron.
As we journey through Lent toward Easter, it is common for people to “give something up.” If the focus is on “not doing something,” you probably won’t get much out of it. Instead, if the focus is on removing something so that you will be able to better hear God, then I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed. Whatever is causing the noise that blocks God’s voice out, get rid of it, and not just for Lent. Get rid of it for good so that you can listen to God.