Worn and Borne

“And you shall make holy garments for Aaron… You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for remembrance. You shall make a breastpiece… You shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper… There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes… 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. You shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It shall regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.” Exodus 28:2,9-12,15,17-20,29,36,38

The priest’s holy garments, “made for glory and beauty,” were designed by God with his ministry in mind. The priest would wear the names of Israel’s tribes as he went about his duties, and would bear them on his heart before the Lord, for remembrance, consecration, and cleansing. This Old Testament practice was a shadow of what our Great High Priest, Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, did for us on the cross and does for us daily. What comfort, what assurance, what strength we can derive from His ongoing ministry to us! (Hebrews 9:15; 12:24)

Antique cross on wood

I know the privilege and peace of carrying loved ones before God’s throne in pleading prayer, and cannot help but be encouraged by the greater knowledge that the Perfect One bears my name, etched in the nail scars on His hands, before God’s throne, and always intercedes for me according to God’s will. Allelujah! (Isaiah 49:16; Romans 8:27,34)

Lord on high, help me hold fast my confession, trusting You in every temptation, regularly drawing nigh to Your throne in great confidence of Your bountiful mercy and grace. May my life bear Your glory and beauty because of Your priesthood to me. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

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