And they journeyed from Kadesh, and the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came to Mount Hor. And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, on the border of the land of Edom, “Let Aaron be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land that I have given to the people of Israel, because you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and bring them up to Mount Hor. And strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron shall be gathered to his people and shall die there.” Moses did as the LORD commanded. And they went up Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. And when all the congregation saw that Aaron had perished, all the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days. (Numbers 20:22-29 ESV)
Despite his significant failures (making the golden calf, striking the rock the second time), Aaron gets a hero’s mourning. He had led Israel in the sacrificial approach to God for forty years. But because of his sin at Meribah when he, with Moses, struck the rock instead of speaking to it, he cannot enter the promised land of Canaan.
It is important, therefore, that his son receive his position as high priest of Israel. And so God describes the transition act to give Eleazar his father’s authority to minister in the tabernacle. God knows that the people need to see the clean transference of authority and the garments make that clear.
Do we have someone ready to take our place? Do we have a succession plan? Or, if something that formal is not required, have we nevertheless been training someone to do what we do? And if we do need to do something that formal, is there a plan to make it clear who our successor is? Don’t sell short how important what you do is or the need to pass on what you know.