The Leadership Errors of Aaron

“Where there is no word from God, people are uncontrolled, but those who obey what they have been taught are happy,” (Proverbs 29:18, NCV). People need leadership. But they need not only leadership, but godly leadership. Because, as George Barna said, “People, left to their own devices, make wrong decisions.”
In Exodus 32 we have a glaring example of this truth fleshed out in Israel. And we have the record of one man’s colossal failure to lead. That man is Aaron, the older brother of Moses, the mouthpiece to Pharaoh and the soon to be high priest of Israel. God had given Aaron the privilege of being a leader among Israel, especially in the absence of Moses while he received the law. But here we see Aaron’s actions and inactions leading to derision and death. As a leader, he erred in these ways.

Aaron erred by failing to step up (vss.1-2). Sometimes great leaders are hesitant to take on the mantle of leadership. That’s not always bad. It may well be an indication of humility and a realization of the awesomeness of the task. But hesitant humility must rise to stirred courage or it will sink to timid cowardice. Aaron may have headed off any idea of idol worship had he concerned himself with reminding the people of God’s deliverance from Egypt and lifted their hopes to the promised land. A true leader is not one who depends on the whims and desires of those he ostensibly leads to choose his course. A true leader, leads. He knows which way to go and inspires people to follow him. The church will always need men who will step up to right wrongs and lead.

Aaron erred by not requiring repentance (5,6). Aaron apparently tried to lessen the evil of making and setting up the golden calf by mixing it with the worship of Jehovah. A leader does not compromise truth with error to placate the people. Where there is sin he requires repentance. No compromise. No coddling. Nothing else will do here but a manly prophetic call for repentance along the lines of Jesus and John the Baptist.

Aaron erred by making excuses (22,23). “Those evil people, they made me do it,” Aaron said. A godly leader must realize that suffering and loss and even death are preferable to unfaithfulness to God. Where was Aaron’s fortitude here? Where was the man who stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt and said, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me.” (Exodus 10:3). Where was the man who obeyed God’s commands and saw the Nile turned to blood and saw the Red Sea part to the right and the left? Where was that man?

Aaron erred by avoiding responsibility (24). “I threw the gold into the fire and out came this calf!” It would be hilarious were it not so serious. When a leader has made a mistake or sinned he must own up to it. Spare the lame excuses or ridiculous explanations. Spare the “If I have offended anyone” apologies that put the blame on the “misunderstanding” of the offended. A leader must be able to say, “What I did was wrong.”

Aaron erred by being permissive (25). The text says it well, “The people had broken loose for Aaron had let them break loose.” A leader must be a man who will stand in the gap and say “This far and no farther.” He must be a man who knows God and his word. He must be a man who knows the liberties God allows. But he must also be a man who knows the limits God sets.
Brad Fry

Published in: on September 5, 2012 at 11:04 am  Comments (1)  
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