A Family Tree To Remember
Passage: Exodus 6:14–27
Community Group Questions: Exodus 6:13-27 - "A Family Tree to Remember"
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Read Exodus 6:13-27 aloud as a group and work through the following questions together:
Background: The Bible contains several “family trees,” that is, genealogies that list the family connections between various people in the biblical storyline. Exodus contains just one important family tree that emphasizes the importance of Aaron’s priestly line in Israel. Turn to the attached chart, which highlights the genealogy’s emphasis on the priesthood. Note the focus on Levi (priests were to come exclusively through the tribe of Levi). Notice also that though Moses had sons, only Aaron’s four sons are listed (they would become the first four priests in Israel, together with their father). Notice as well that the furthest generation down lists one man, Phinehas, through whom the “high priestly line” would come.
- This genealogy is meant to validate Aaron’s priestly line. The future priests would serve in the Tabernacle of God, the tent where God would dwell among the people in the camp. The priests would assist the people in offering animal sacrifices to God, they would perform the required rituals inside the tabernacle, and once a year the high priest would sprinkle sacrificial blood inside the holy of holies to atone for the people’s sin. In short, the priests were intermediaries between a holy God, and a sinful people. They were a “go-between” to make a way for a harmonious relationship to exist between God and his people. In your opinion, what lessons about God and man were the people of Israel supposed to be learning year after year as they watched the work of the priesthood? Which of these lessons are applicable to us today? How so?
- The genealogy also shows us some examples of extreme priestly failure. Notice that Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu had no sons. Read their story in Leviticus 10:1-3. What sober lesson was God illustrating through their failure? Korah is another name that the genealogy draws attention to. Notice that he was a “cousin” of Aaron, and his sons were “on the same level” as the sons of Aaron. At some point, Korah became jealous of Aaron’s priestly role, and challenged his authority. Read his story in Numbers 16:1-35. What lesson was God illustrating in punishing Korah and those who rebelled with him? What do we learn about the nature of human priesthood through these stories of failure?
- Next, we see some tremendous pictures of God’s ultimate goal of sending Jesus as the Greatest High Priest. Notice that Aaron’s wife Elisheba has a brother named Nahshon and a father named Amminadab. These men are from the tribe of Judah, and they are both mentioned in the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3! Turn to those passages and see if you can locate these men’s names. Now, take a look at the second attachment which shows the connection visually. This is one of those cases where, in the providence of God, we see the “kingly line” of Judah touching briefly with the “priestly line” of Levi. How does this connection point us to Jesus?
- Notice, finally, the name Phinehas. Read his story in Numbers 25:1-13. How does Phinehas in his passion for God, his sacrificial act, and his establishment of a “covenant of peace” foreshadow Jesus? In what ways is Jesus even greater than Phinehas?
- Human priests, in both their successes and failures, point us to the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, whom God intended ultimately to send for us. Read two famous passages in the book of Hebrews that speak of Jesus’ High Priestly role: Hebrews 4:14-16 and Hebrews 10:19-25. As a group, make a list of the things that Jesus provides us as believers in his role as our Great High Priest. What things keep us from taking full advantage of the access Jesus gives, the forgiveness he provides, and the help that he offers? What specific things can we do this week to more consistently and boldly draw near to God through Christ?
Prayer suggestion: Spend time thanking Jesus for all that he does for us in his role as our Great High Priest.