June 4, 2023 | Duane Roberts
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“Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord. . . . Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.”—Exodus 28:11–12, 30b (NIV)
Have you ever had someone represent you or stand up for you? Perhaps you quite literally had a lawyer represent you in court, or maybe your best friend in elementary school defended you on the playground. Perhaps your sibling or spouse stood by your side in a difficult decision or moment, or maybe your family wore shirts with your name and face on it at your graduation. Whatever the case may be, I hope you can recall a moment like this. If not, then this devotional is still for you!
Something the high priest would do in the Old Testament was wear the stones with the names of the sons of Israel on them as he entered the tabernacle to perform his sacrificial duties. The names of the sons of Israel, which were the twelve tribes of Israel, represented all of God’s people. Aaron, the first high priest, would wear these in order to be reminded of his responsibility in bearing the Israelites’ names in his heart before the Lord as he made sacrifices and decisions on their behalf. He stood in the middle so God could be with His people and His people could live pleasing lives for their God.
Not only did he bear these stones, but he wore other specific “priestly garments” that all of Exodus 28 further details. These garments would resemble the details of the tabernacle and the holiness of God. They served as part of the priest’s consecration from the rest of the people. Consecration is an act of setting something apart for holiness in obedience and worship to the Lord (The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible). The consecration of the priests was essential for them to be able to righteously bear the names of the Israelites and make sacrifices on their behalf.
When Jesus came to the earth, He became the final high priest and the final sacrifice. He didn’t just come for the Israelites; however, He came for all the world (John 3:16)! He came to bear our names before the Lord so we could have access to Him. He was fully consecrated on His own because He was the Son of God! Because of Him, we can also be rightfully consecrated for the Lord in the way we live our lives as new creations. Because Jesus chose to bear our sin and shame before God, we can enter a personal relationship with Him that is like no other!
Pause: Reflect on a time someone chose to represent you or stand up for you. Reflect on how the high priesthood would do this before God for the people of Israel. Think about how Jesus has done this in the best way possible for all of our sins!
Practice: Read Hebrews 7:23–28 a few times throughout the day. Practice thanking God for sending Christ to become the ultimate and final high priest bearing our sins with our names on the cross so we may enter His kingdom and presence.
Pray: Jesus, holy, holy, holy are You Lord God Almighty! You are our high priest and, because of that, we can enter into a personal and intimate relationship with You, our holy God, and be considered Your sons and daughters. Thank You for all You have done, I am often left speechless at the thought of it. All I can say is thank You, matchless one, thank You. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.