God Restores the One Who Messed Up

Cheri Strange

Day Two – God Restores the One Who has Messed Up.

Hey there! Welcome. I’m so glad you are here. We are on the second of a five-day reading plan investigating the question: Can God restore me? Today we are looking intently at who God restores, particularly the person who has really messed up. Thankfully we have plenty of biblical examples.

Let me tell you about the structure. First, you will be introduced to the Scripture for the day. The devotional material will follow. Today is I am deviating somewhat. I have listed the references and embedded the most important verses within the text as you read. It just seems to flow better. At least you have a choice.

You can also enjoy a version of Can God Restore Me? at Bible.com or on the app, YouVersion. The benefit of finding it here is that we have the flexibility, added Bonus Material, and community with one another.

Let’s get on with the day.


Exodus 24:9-11; 32:21-24; 27:21; 28:1-3; 29-30; and Exodus 39:27-30

Devotional: God Restores the One who has Messed Up.

The Bible is chock full of narratives portraying individuals who really messed up. Today our focus turns to Aaron, the brother of Moses. Why look at him? Well, Aaron is more like us than we would like to think. He blew it, and he knew better.

Aaron was what we might call a Spiritual Elite. God had chosen him to lead. He was serving in a prominent position, and the people revered him. Scripture describes him as the mouthpiece between Moses and Pharaoh. Privileged was this man to be on the platform as one announcing the Word from the Lord. If all this were not enough, previously Aaron had been selected to go up the mountain into the very presence of God (Exodus 24:9-11).

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank. 

Aaron in the Midst of the Awesomeness

It was in the midst of all that awesomeness and honor that Aaron blundered (Exodus 32:21-24).

Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” 

This trusted pillar botched it to the degree we would have exercised church discipline at a minimum, unfriended him from all social media platforms and blocked his number. Within a short stent of leadership, Aaron caved to the people’s demand to forsake the Lord and made idols for them to worship. He was like a sympathetic substitute teacher who allowed his class to run amuck, subsequently aiding their bad behavior. Then he lied about his participation in the theatricals to cover up his failings.

A Lousy Leader

Aaron proved to be a lousy leader and undeserving of responsibility involving the worship of God. Ironically, in the middle of Aaron’s gross offense, God was preparing to give him the priesthood (Exodus 27:21; 281-3,29-30)!

You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel. 

“Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.

So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the LORD. And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the LORD. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the LORD regularly.

God in the Midst of the Blunder

Oh, how I wish we had the backstory! I want to hear the exchange. Can’t you imagine Aaron’s own repulsion of his wickedness? Think of the shame, the embarrassment and the problems that could haunt him for the rest of his life–all stemming from his weakness demonstrated in those nauseating moments? There is no possibility of being restored from his perspective. He is too far gone.

But there in the midst of his shattered shards of failures and regrets poses the infinite wonder of a God who forgives more than He should and entrusts more than we would.  Where we brand ourselves “Unworthy,” wallowing in shame and defeat, God offers restoration. Aaron is given a new identity: Holy to the LORD.

And they also made the coats, woven of fine linen, for Aaron and his sons, and the turban of fine linen, and the caps of fine linen, and the linen undergarments of fine twined linen, and the sash of fine twined linen and of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, embroidered with needlework, as the LORD had commanded Moses. They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote on it an inscription, like the engraving of a signet, “Holy to the LORD.” Exodus 39:27-30

For those of us who have experienced the weightiness heralded by our own blunders, thinking our use to God is null and void, there is hope.

God restores people like Aaron who really messed up.

He will restore you, too.


Click here to read Day Three.

If you would like to go to the beginning of the plan, click here.  

Check this plan out on YouVersion (or Bible.com) here. 


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