This Moses and This Aaron
At the beginning of the book of Exodus, we reviewed the members of Jacob’s family that moved to Egypt.
They moved to Egypt because of widespread famine. Years before anyone knew the famine was coming, God sent Joseph to Egypt ahead of his family to prepare the way. This sounds nice, but in reality, it was a horrible ordeal. Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him as a slave. Joseph spent years as a slave and then as a prisoner. As harsh as life was for Joseph, God was preparing him to fulfill a great role.
Let’s review where Joseph was in the family.
With the family safely in Egypt, years passed and that generation passed away. A time came when the king of Egypt no longer knew about Joseph, and instead feared the Israelites because of their great numbers and growth. This fear became the start of long years of slavery for the Israelites.
During this time the Israelite population continued to grow, and from this group of people, God chose two people, Moses and Aaron. Exodus 6:13 tells us:
Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. ()
At this point in the story of deliverance, God takes the time to tell us who Moses and Aaron are. He does not list their achievements, their test scores, their qualifications, or their aptitudes. He lists their genealogy.
The first thing I notice about Biblical genealogies is that I cannot pronounce many of the names. The second thing is that I do not know who many of these people are. Exodus 6:14-25 seems to be just such a list.
Rather than reading a bunch of names without meaning or context, let’s consider who some of these people were.
Why was it important for us to know Moses and Aaron’s genealogy? I hope to be able to answer this question after we have considered some of the people in the genealogy.
If drawn out as a family tree, the genealogy looks like this.
Israel was the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham. Israel was named Jacob at birth, but God changed his name later in life. The family tree represented here starts with Israel and his first three sons.
Ruben had four sons. Each son was the head of a family group. Simeon had six sons, and Levi had three sons. The genealogy stops here with the sons of Israel because we are interested in the lineage of Moses and Aaron, and Levi is their forefather.
Studying the life of Jacob will quickly lead one to the conclusion that this family was messed up. We have already mentioned that Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. They led their father to believe that a wild animal had killed Joseph. All the brothers except Benjamin were in on this deception.
In addition to their corporate sin, the brothers had their individual sins.
Genesis 35:22 tells us:
While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine. And Israel heard of it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve. ()
Bilhah was Rachel’s servant, Reuben’s father’s concubine. Because of this act, Reuben lost the right of the firstborn.
In Genesis 34, we learn:
On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem's house and went away. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their flocks, and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and plundered. ()
Simeon and Levi killed everyone in a city because of one man’s offense.
Simeon had a child by a Canaanite woman, and Moses’ father married his own aunt.
Later in the story of Moses’ life, we learn that his cousin Korah led a rebellion against Moses.
This is a look at the surface of Moses and Aaron’s family tree. A more in-depth look would reveal even more flaws and sins. So, why is it important that we know that it was “this” Moses and Aaron?
First, it was important that Israel knew that Moses and Aaron were Israelites. Then no one could say, “You have no part with us.”
Second, it was important that we understand that Moses and Aaron were just ordinary people.
Let’s consider the importance of knowing that Moses and Aaron were Israelites.
They would have been subject to the same oppression and slavery as all the rest of Israel, allowing them to identify fully with the suffering and brutality of their situation. They also would share in the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, promises that included the land of Canaan.
We will come back and consider why it is important to know that Moses and Aaron were just normal men, but first I want to show you some parallels in this story of deliverance and in the gospel.
Just as it was important for Israel to know that Moses and Aaron were Israelites, it was important that the world knows that Jesus was both Jewish and human. This same family is the family from which Jesus was born. The promises of God to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and later David, all apply to Jesus. Jesus is the heir of the promises and the one who was promised. God promised an everlasting throne to David and it is fulfilled in Jesus. Whatever God’s purposes are for the promised land, these also will be fulfilled in Jesus.
Now, we will consider why it is important to know that Moses and Aaron were just normal men.
Like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we are all descendants of Adam. In Jesus’ family tree there were people from different cultures, nations and languages. There were people with dark skin and light skin. There were murderers and kings, harlots and queens. The gospel sees all humanity as one. Acts 17:26 says,
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, ()
God made from one man every nation. God is concerned that all nations know the gospel. Philip was sent to an Ethiopian and Africa received the gospel. Tradition has it that Thomas went to India and Asia received the gospel.
More important still is the fact that we are all represented by Adam, the father of our race called humanity. Romans 5 says:
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— ()
In Adam, we all sinned and are born sinners, slaves to sin. Then when we come into our own, we become slaves by choice, as the Scriptures say:
However, this is a part of a larger story because the Scriptures also say:
But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. ()
This then is why it is important that Moses and Aaron and Jesus came from the line of ordinary people, that we might all be saved by the one man, Jesus Christ.
There is another reason it is important to understand that Moses and Aaron were just normal people. The Scriptures tell us:
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ()
As far as the promises of God and salvation are concerned, it makes no difference what your family background is. We are all one in Christ. Galatians 3:28 says:
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. ()
Now is the time that Jesus spoke of when He said:
Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. ()
God is looking for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. He is not looking for a pedigree, a perfect family, an exceptionally talented person or a superstar. He is looking for you, with your family background and talents, whatever they may be, and He is calling you to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Will you accept the call?