He put them on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel, as the Lord had commanded Moses (Exodus 39:7 NKJV).
As we gather in the presence of God to worship and praise Him, let us pause to remember the importance of carrying one another's burdens.
The Lord commanded the Levitical priests to embed twelve precious gems upon each shoulder, the stones engraved with the twelve tribes of Israel. This way, whenever he entered the tabernacle or temple, he carried the burdens of the people upon his shoulders.
Peter Pell, a gospel preacher, states, "The strength of His shoulders and the love of His heart are thus bearing the names of God's people before the presence of God."*
Peter Pell's quote radiates the love and strength of God. His mighty shoulders are strong enough to carry the burdens of his people, and his heart is filled with love for them. This beautiful image conveys the faithfulness of an all-powerful Lord, who always remembers and cherishes each of us by name as we approach his presence. In light of this quote, we are reminded that none of the struggles we face go unnoticed or unheard by our heavenly Father, including those we bring before him as we intercede for those he places upon the shoulders of our hearts.
The beauty of our faith is found in the power he has given us to intercede on behalf of others. Just as the Levitical priests interceded for the Israelites with their prayers, we too can offer up an intercessory prayer for one another. We can lift our brothers and sisters in prayer, praying that God may open his arms and wrap them in his loving embrace.
When we worship, we, too, carry the burdens of those God has placed upon the shoulders of our hearts. When we come to praise the Lord, collectively or during our private time of worship, it is an opportunity to recognize and carry the burdens put upon our hearts by God. We can take these struggles, worries, and hardships to Him in prayer, not just our own, but those of others as well. This is a privilege given to every believer.
And this is one way we demonstrate how we truly love one another, to carry each other’s pain, sorrows, joys, and triumphs before God’s throne.
And this is what sets Christian authors apart from the competitiveness of the world. We can pray for each other’s concerns, projects, obstacles, and burdens upon our shoulders, a power descended upon the industry such as the world cannot know. We can help each other build our altars of sacrifice.
Who is on your shoulders today?
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God (1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 NKJV).
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