Before the Lord had instituted the priestly office in Israel, Moses was actually serving as a priest before God in time of war and in time of peace. When the Amalekites fought with Israel at Raphidim, Moses told Joshua to choose men from Israel to fight against Amalek while he stood on the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hand, interceding for the battle with Aaron and Hur at his side. This priestly office of going before the Lord and interceding for the victory of his people enabled the Israelites to overwhelm the Amalekites. The lifting up of his hands, like the priests in the house of God is a symbol of intercession for the welfare of God’s people. The second priestly thing that Moses did was to build an altar after the victory as a memorial. He called the altar “The Lord is My Banner”, meaning to lift hands to the throne or the banner of God.
During the time of peace, Moses was judging the people from morning to evening. He was wearing himself out and his father-in-law, Jethro, advised him to delegate. However, the advice from this new convert to Jehovah-God is not that simple. He asked Moses to represent the people before God and to bring their cases to God first; followed by educating the people about God’s laws and statutes before training up godly men as judges among the people. This is exactly the role of the priests later, to represent the people before God, to teach them and to make judgments for the people such as to decide whether a leper was cleansed.
The priestly role of Moses is actually not confined to one person or to the sons of Aaron. In God’s original plan, all Israelites were supposed to be priests. On top of Mount Sinai, God spoke to Moses and asked him to tell his people about their identity as God’s treasured possession among all peoples. They should be to God a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Israel should be different in that they were God’s possession and were separated to Him. Everyone in Israel should be a priest and this holy nation should be made up of priests.
The priesthood of all believers is not a unique teaching of the Reformation through Martin Luther. This was revealed to Moses early in the time of the Exodus. When Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn and we now have a new and living way into the Holy of Holies. As Jesus is now serving as the High Priest, we all are little priests serving God in peacetime and in wartime. Jesus tells us that we should not let others call us “father” because the heavenly Father is the only Father. We are not to be called “master” because only Jesus is the only Master. We are not to be called “teacher” because the Holy Spirit is our only Instructor. Our role is the priestly role and our greatest work is that of intercession. Are you taking on the role of a priest?
Ps 19:1-6 Exo 17:8-19:15 Matt 22:34-23:12 Prov 6:27-35